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Bernie Skepticism

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bernie

If you had told me a year ago that I was going to be cited in Vox as a Bernie skeptic, I would have said there’s no way such a weird event could happen. But something unexpected things happen. Look, I support basically every single Sanders platform position, except for his bad positions, like on guns and Israel. And I will probably vote for him if it is still a race when the Rhode Island primary comes around, which it won’t because RI is a late voting state. But maybe I just can’t put aside thinking about politics structurally for rhetoric anymore. Because I just see a lot of problems. I still completely believe that Sanders’ core supporters (and I am probably overstating the power of internet leftists as some suggested in the original comment on this) will turn on him with a fury as the next sellout once he takes power and has to compromise. But on top of this, I don’t believe that Sanders can create a political revolution. In fact, I think there is essentially no chance of it. It seems that Sanders supporters think there is going to be a wave of left-populist candidates swept into office with him. But where are those candidates in current House races? Where are the open Bernie acolytes either challenging moderate Democrats in primaries or running in conservative House districts that are heavily gerrymandered? Because while there are probably a few, I sure don’t see some broader platform of leftist candidates here, nor has anyone told me how they are going to win a 60-40 Romney seat.

I also flat out don’t believe that there is a “silent majority” (and good god, can this term die in a fire when it comes to describing contemporary politics–I’ve heard Sanders, Trump, and David freaking Brooks talk about it to describe their own positions in the last week alone) ready to embrace Sanders’ economic populism–unless it is a racialized populism. And those voters are Trump voters. This goes back to my earlier post on the AFL-CIO and the South. Race matters more than anything else in American life. Now, perhaps there is an argument to be made that an economically populist message could inspire huge voter turnout in black and Latino communities. I don’t know. I’d like to see some evidence for it. And perhaps such an agenda would inspire white union members to not vote for Trump, as they might over Hillary. This is all possible. Sanders is doing well among white working-class Democrats after all. But in the end, I am just skeptical that this is a movement that is going to sweep corporations out of power like Sanders says. There are too many structural limitations in the way. It would take a long time. It would require Sanders to win in 2016 and then again in 2020. It would then require the usual midterm defeats of the ruling party to not happen and quite left candidates to run and win in those gerrymandered seats. And then it would take new laws and court decisions to overturn Citizens United and other terrible recent rulings, not to mention the impending Friedrichs ruling. This is a years-long process. It’s like the Progressive Era, where it will probably take 20-25 years of consistent wins just to beat back the last 20-25 years. Krugman is right that there’s a lot of delusion right now among primary voters in both parties about how change works.

And to be frank, my own study of American history suggests basically nothing that would allow me to believe in what I just described. It really would have to take a whole new politics. Given that the possible presidential candidates are a self-described socialist and Donald Trump, a whole new politics may in fact be happening. So who knows. But 238 years of American history is a lot of precedent to believe in over a good rhetorical message.

I get the appeal of rhetoric, even if I am immune to it personally. And this doesn’t mean I think Hillary is a better candidate than Sanders. Nor does it mean I think she would be a better president. But I think there’s a lot of delusion going on right now about what happens if Bernie wins. I just have very limited expectations of what a Bernie presidency would be able to accomplish. I disagree with Chait’s assertion that Sanders’ rhetoric shows the left’s frustration with shared power because I think what it actually shows is a reaction to right-wing extremism threatening the country’s future. Sanders supporters are reacting to real problems afflicting the United States. Given the human psychological need for charismatic leadership, it’s hardly surprising that people would put their hopes in Sanders here. The Sanders campaign, whatever happens, is a solid first step along a long road to retaking the country for everyday Americans. But it is only a first step–even if he wins. Understanding more about what that road looks like and understanding the limitations of what Sanders or any other president can do given the structures of American governance I think is really important to stave off disillusionment.

And healthy but friendly skepticism now is better than disillusionment later.

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  • shah8

    Bernie was supposed to be the jester.

    What’s sketchy was/is the whole nomination process.

    • MDrew

      +1.

  • Joe_JP

    Love the photo.

    Bernie Sanders to me is a protest voice, and it’s good he’s out there, including perhaps to push Hillary Clinton a bit left (and saying things once upon a time would be out there even for Sanders … who, e.g., less than a decade ago wouldn’t sign on to SSM).

    Don’t actually see him as the sort of person who’d win. Well, the nomination. There are various ways to “win.” He just might win something important in the long run here.

    • brettvk

      The illustration is Wonkette’s T-shirt.

      • N__B

        Regardless of one’s choice of candidate, the Hillary shirt is a better design.

  • Why not show a picture of Grandpa Simpson yelling at the clouds?

    Maybe Sanders isn’t as wonderful as people are thinking, but he’s still better than H Clinton, and Jeez, a million trillion times better than any Repug running.

    • As I have said before, I don’t think a Sanders presidency is very different than a Clinton presidency. The heated rhetoric between their supporters is a whole lot of light and very little heat.

      • Davis X. Machina

        Right after ‘silent majority’ dies in a fire, can we take a gimlet-eyed look at ‘the narcissism of small differences’?

        • Judas Peckerwood

          The proper term is “the narcissism of tiny contrasts” — something YOUR side will never understand!!!

          • Steppanhammer

            Clearly they need to be heightened!

            • Judas Peckerwood

              I think you mean “magnified”, O’Malleybot!

              • Malaclypse

                Splitter.

                • rea

                  The vertically challenged among us are offended by “heightened.”

      • ThrottleJockey

        Why so contrarian, Loomis?

        Its the primaries, man, unleash your inner optimist. This is the time for poetry, the time for prose is later.

        • I don’t have an inner optimist.

          • ChrisTS

            Further evidence of our need for a ‘like’ button.

            • N__B

              Some of us have inner “like” buttons.

              • Malaclypse

                Others dislike everything, but some things less than others.

                • ChrisTS

                  Universalism and recognition of degrees are perfectly compatible.

              • ChrisTS

                Not the same, Big Bear.

                • N__B

                  Mongo merely pawn in game of life.

          • brad

            Paul Moore: It must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you’re the smartest person in the room.

            Jane Craig: No. It’s awful.

            ETA; not a snarky insult.

            • I’ve got an outer pessimist and when she looks in the mirror she sees a pretty accurate reflection of herself.

              • Lee Rudolph

                Inside every pessimist is another pessimist shouting “it’s not even half full in here!!!”

                • N__B

                  Inside every pessimist is another pessimist shouting “I knew you were a cannibal!”

                • Ronan

                  Inside every dental survey, during working hours, on a weekday, at appointment time, is a dentist , saying something about teeth

              • joel hanes

                [Aimai reflects pessimism about self]

                Hmm.

                From out here in the intertubes, you seem pretty damned wonderful. (Character, intelligence, and eloquence are not often visible in the mirror.)

            • royko

              Love that movie!

          • royko

            Boy howdy!

        • Steppanhammer

          When Bernie first came around, I was really thinking I’d probably end up voting for him in the primary as support, and then very happily vote Hillary in the general.

          The amount of momentum he’s gained is incredible, and I think his presence in the race has been a huge benefit; yet at this point I’m pretty firmly of the opinion that Hillary is a (somewhat) better candidate, and it’s starting to feel too close to even cast a protest/support primary vote.

          • Phil Perspective

            The amount of momentum he’s gained is incredible, and I think his presence in the race has been a huge benefit; yet at this point I’m pretty firmly of the opinion that Hillary is a (somewhat) better candidate, and it’s starting to feel too close to even cast a protest/support primary vote.

            Talk about a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing!

            • Ahuitzotl

              still talking about yourself?

        • Linnaeus

          Remember, this is Erik Loomis we’re talking about here.

          • efgoldman

            Remember, this is Erik Loomis we’re talking about here.

            Last I saw, he’s not running for anything.

            • Linnaeus

              If he were, he’d have my vote!

            • Ahuitzotl

              cover?

      • Hogan

        The heated rhetoric between their supporters is a whole lot of light and very little heat.

        Other way round, I think.

        • ChrisTS

          :-)

  • fd2

    What, exactly, is the thesis of this post?

    Is it “I won’t vote for Bernie because”, or “Bernie won’t win because”, or “Bernie SHOULDN’T win because”?

    Because everything you assert can’t happen under a Sanders presidency, also won’t happen under a Clinton presidency. So, “I won’t vote for Bernie because the things he promises won’t happen” is somewhat silly since they also won’t happen under Clinton.

    What point are you attempting to make? What are you attempting to convince us of?

    • Thom

      Maybe you should read it again. I think Erik’s points are pretty clear.

    • What point are you attempting to make? What are you attempting to convince us of?

      That we should think harder about how change actually happens and that placing our hopes in any one person to fix our problems will inevitably lead to failure and disillusionment.

      I realize people struggle with this, but one can write about politicians without suggesting they should vote one way or another or to talk about whether they can win or not.

      • fd2

        That we should think harder about how change actually happens and that placing our hopes in any one person to fix our problems will inevitably lead to failure and disillusionment.

        I don’t disagree with that; I think a lot of people thought that of Obama and were predictably disappointed. But I have a hard time reading anything to that effect without thinking “…so?”

        I realize people struggle with this, but one can write about politicians without suggesting they should vote one way or another or to talk about whether they can win or not.

        I agree, but generally if you write about politics you would like to convince your readers of SOMETHING. What is your actual point? Because it appears to be somewhat occulted.

        • efgoldman

          I don’t disagree with that; I think a lot of people thought that of Obama and were predictably disappointed. But I have a hard time reading anything to that effect without thinking “…so?”

          Part of the problem is, to a large segment of the population, Sanctus Ronaldus Magnus ran a revolution all by himself. He didn’t, of course; there were thousands of people at the state, county, and municipal level who managed to convince a lot of other people that the honey-voiced B-movie actor was right, over time. We haven’t seen anything like that on the Progressive side, for a number of related reasons, in decades.

          • fd2

            I agree with that, and I believe that the left should be working, hard, to build infrastructure at the grass-roots level. This post doesn’t seem to address that at all, though.

        • UserGoogol

          Sometimes the point of philosophy is to understand the world and not to change it. Erik embraces activism way more than I do, so I don’t want to speak for him as such, but sometimes political discussions can just be about having a better understanding of how society functions and ought to function without moving onto direct actionable steps to achieve a better world. In the long run the former promotes the latter, anyway.

          • ChrisTS

            And, since Erik is an historian, description/explanation rather than normation/prescription is pretty sensible.

            • Although to be fair, only a fourth-rate historian.

              • rea

                I look forward to your book on HMS Leopard.

      • kped

        I’ve had this debate with Sanders supporters in comment threads across progressive blogs. I ask the simple question – who else are you voting for? Who are you working to primary? How are you getting out the vote in the most impossible to win places?

        “I vote party ticket”. That’s the response I usually get. Which is to say “duhhhh, isn’t electing Bernie enough???” No. You need to generate enthusiasm for other candidates as well. How does Paul Ryan keep winning a seat that Obama won by huge margins both times? Because Democrats ignore that seat. For some strange reason, they are OK with Ryan having it.

        Bernie talks revolution. His supporters talk revolution. But no one actually seems to be working on…the revolution!

        Step 1: Elect Bernie Sanders
        Step 2: ????
        Step 3: The end of capitalism!!!!!!!!!

        Yeah, not happening.

        • sharonT

          The reason Ryan is re-elected to a swing seat is because DCCC has decided to pass on funding a candidate.

          There are pacs, like Blue America and PCCC Pac who have raised funds for liberal-left House candidates and some of them have won seats. Most haven’t. It’s the slow boring of hard boards thingy, it just takes time.

        • Gregor Sansa

          Here’s the sequence:

          1. Nominate Bernie Sanders.
          2. Some kids “don’t always vote, but when Sanders is campaigning they vote for Democrats.”
          3. 5-10 more Democrats in the House, 1-2 in the Senate.

          Calling step 3 “revolutionary” might be overselling it, but it’s still very worth doing.

          • Brien Jackson

            So what happens in 2018 when he’s not on the ballot?

            • Gregor Sansa

              I said “campaigning”, not “on the ballot”. Obviously the effect is less, but I still think Bernie is better than Hillary for 2018. You can say what you like about the tenets of Republicans, but at least it’s an ethos; at least they dream big. Bernie does that, Hillary doesn’t, and I think it would have down-ballot implications even in an off-year.

              And anyway, 2020 is more important than 2018 because of redistricting. Hillary in 2020 is a recipe for disaster. If she can’t parlay a dominant position into an easy primary win, why should we think she can parlay incumbency into reelection?

              Loomis thinks that progressives are fickle just because trendy leftier-than-thou hipsters like to hate on Obama. I think that’s weak evidence, and also that Bernie’s rhetoric will make it harder to say that he “didn’t. even. try.” as compared to Obama, even if his accomplishments are similar or less.

              • And anyway, 2020 is more important than 2018 because of redistricting. Hillary in 2020 is a recipe for disaster. If she can’t parlay a dominant position into an easy primary win, why should we think she can parlay incumbency into reelection?

                What constitutes an easy win? It looks pretty easy at the moment. Even if there’s some early wackiness, it’s unclear that it won’t go reasonably smoothly.

                And primaries and different than general elections. What’s makes it so likely that she’d do poorly in the general in 2020?

                • Gregor Sansa

                  Because all the contrarian vectors will be lining up against her, third term Democrat and consummate insider. Anybody who’s contrarian enough to call themselves “independent” politically, which is over a third of the US voters, will hear that siren’s song at least a little bit. It only takes about 4% from them (that is, 2% from those who might vote D) paying attention to doom her.

          • kped

            Here’s my problem with that. First, his supporters aren’t aware of step 2 and 3 (ie, slow change, because 5-10 extra dems in the house makes it a record Republican majority to a…record Republican majority minus 5 or 10. They still have a huge majority). They are out there shouting on the top of their lungs that if only Bernie can be elected, capitalism can be dismantled, all the banks broken up, etc. It’s not being communicated well (because the candidate isn’t communicating it).

            And my second issue is…Bernie hasn’t actually demonstrated more popularity than Hillary…see every national poll. I may have missed it, but is there any indication other than “golly, look at those New Hampshire rally’s, he sure does get some young folk out” that Bernie would boost enthusiasm and turnout? Wouldn’t that show up in some polling? Maybe it does, i just haven’t seen it.

      • Malaclypse

        That we should think harder about how change actually happens and that placing our hopes in any one person to fix our problems will inevitably lead to failure and disillusionment.

        But Bernie is the Kwisatz Haderach!

        • Oh and that worked out super awesome!

          The lesson of the Kwisatz Haderach is that the KH is MORE constrained!

    • Murc

      What, exactly, is the thesis of this post?

      Is it “I won’t vote for Bernie because”, or “Bernie won’t win because”, or “Bernie SHOULDN’T win because”?

      You seem to think that the thesis of this post has to in some way relate to who will be a better and/or more candidate and how the election is going to play out.

      It is not. In fact, this post is only barely about the election at all. It’s about Erik being skeptical of Sanders’ ability to deliver transformational change, and what will happen when that failure comes to pass.

      And that’s it.

      Not everything is about the election or about candidate endorsement.

      • kped

        I mean…i guess i see your point, but the real question, which you ignored Murc, is, who are you voting for??????

        • Malaclypse

          Bernie. Because I want to see him pull Hillary left for as long as he can.

    • joe from Lowell

      What, exactly, is the thesis of this post?

      Is it “I won’t vote for Bernie because”, or “Bernie won’t win because”, or “Bernie SHOULDN’T win because”?

      Because everything you assert can’t happen under a Sanders presidency, also won’t happen under a Clinton presidency.

      What Murc said.

      Please keep in mind, Erik is mostly a labor historian. The question of large-scale, left-wing, class-based change is something that goes well beyond the election in his writing and thinking. He’s always complaining that the labor movement and environmental movement and everyone else isn’t pursuing an effective strategy, too. It’s basically how he demonstrates his political loyalties – practically a sign of affection.

      • fd2

        He’s always complaining that the labor movement and environmental movement and everyone else isn’t pursuing an effective strategy, too.

        But usually, when he makes posts like that, he includes what he would consider to be an effective strategy. “X shouldn’t be doing Y, they should be doing Z. Or maybe A or B.” But in this post I don’t see any of that. Indeed I barely see “X shouldn’t be doing B”. That’s why I’m asking, what exactly is the point? Because in most of Erik’s posts it’s quite clear, but in this one it isn’t, at all.

        • joe from Lowell

          But usually, when he makes posts like that, he includes what he would consider to be an effective strategy.

          Really? I usually see him end with “I don’t really know what to do about any of this. We’re basically $&^#ed.”

          Unless it’s a historical post, in which case he ends with “They were ultimately crushed, owing to the impossibility of their methods succeeding against the power of the economic elites. Awesome exhibit about this at Such-and-Such Park.”

          • rea

            “I don’t really know what to do about any of this. We’re basically $&^#ed.”

            But unfortunately, that’s just the way it is, on several fronts.

          • I did write a whole book with pretty specific solutions about problems that do not get a lot of attention, even on the left.

    • hidflect

      Well, that’s a very good point.

  • Judas Peckerwood

    Angry, frustrated citizens projecting their ideals and vision for a better country onto a political candidate? Simply unprecedented.

    • But Erik isn’t saying its unprecedented. He says it happens all the time and right afterwards the same people project their frustration onto the previous love object and either retire to sulk on the sidelines or actively undermine their former choice.

      • efgoldman

        He says it happens all the time and right afterwards the same people project their frustration onto the previous love object and either retire to sulk on the sidelines or actively undermine their former choice.

        Loomis is a historian. Those who forget history… etc

  • Murc

    Erik, I think there might be some disconnect between how the term “skeptic” is used by various parties.

    This post lays out the reasons why you are skeptical of Bernie as a transformational force in American politics. So does the Vox article in which you’re cited approvingly. They’re good reasons.

    But I’ve seen a lot of people say they’re “skeptical” of Bernie as a viable candidate, rather than as a transformational figure. I have friends who are big Hillary supporters despite liking Sanders much better because they just flat don’t think he can win.

    (Sidebar: one friend and his family are really frustrating Hillary canvassers in Nevada. “We’d vote for Hillary instantly in a primary, but one of us is prone to panic attacks, another needs an oxygen tank at random times, and a third is on chemo. We’re not going to sit in a school gym all day to do what we should be able to do in ten seconds by pulling a lever. We’re very sorry.”)

    So there are two different axes of Sanders-skepticism at play. It’s important to maintain the distinctions. This is not to say you haven’t done that. This is me just sayin’.

    As far as his supporters turning on him goes… I dunno. This will certainly happen, but I don’t think it will happen to the degree it happened with Obama, for two reasons. The first is that, while the Green Lanternistas are certainly still around, I feel like the last four years have really educated some of them on the genuine legal and political mechanics that limit executive power.

    The second is that I really do think Sanders will exercise what power he does have more aggressively than Obama has, giving his supporters less reason to turn on him. A hypothetical Sanders who is elected in 2008 probably does stuff like prosecute hundreds of banksters, for example. This, admittedly, is something I might be wrong about; Sanders has a long history of being practical when he has to and maybe he bends in the same way Obama has. But he really seems like he’s going to move in ways a mainstream Democrat would not.

    • I have friends who are big Hillary supporters despite liking Sanders much better because they just flat don’t think he can win.

      I do worry about this myself. I feel like I know too much about American history to believe this country will elect a self-described socialist.

      On the other hand, I knew too much about American history to believe this country would elect a black man president. So maybe I know nothing.

      • Phil Perspective

        On the other hand, I knew too much about American history to believe this country would elect a black man president. So maybe I know nothing.

        A black man with that middle name to boot!!! So I find it laughable for people to say that Sanders can’t get elected.

        • Linnaeus

          Yes, there is a nonzero chance that Sanders could get elected, but I’m not sure how instructive a comparison with Obama is. The circumstances surrounding the election of 2008 (an economy in recession, a disastrous war, a Republican president whose approval rating had tanked big time) aren’t operative this time around.

          • djw

            Yeah. There’s simply no existing human person in existence who is (a) electable enough to win the 2008 Democratic primary and (b) insufficiently electable to beat John McCain under the circumstances that prevailed in 2008.

            • joe from Lowell

              Similarly, there is no existing human person who is (a) capable of beating Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary and (b) insufficiently electable to beat any of the possible Republican nominees.

              Electability is such a non-issue this year. We’re eight years further into the demographic change everyone has been talking about for years; the turnout/polarized electorate still gives the Democratic nominee a big leg up; the Republican nominees are grossly unpopular; and the economy is above water with a Democratic incumbent.

              • djw

                I think that’s probably true, but I’m a lot less confident than you are. There’s probably enough margin of error for a weaker candidate, but not as much as 2008.

                • joe from Lowell

                  There’s probably enough margin of error for a weaker candidate

                  Eh, she’ll be fine.

                  It’s probably true that, structurally, 2008 was a more favorable year for Democrats than 2016; then again, structurally, John McCain was a particularly strong candidate going into the race.

                • djw

                  “probably”??!! I wouldn’t be surprised if i lived out my years to my current life expectancy and not see an election with circumstances as favorable to the Democratic candidate as 2008.

          • EliHawk

            Also, Obama was a conventional, mainstream politician with peak Clinton/Blair/Trudeau levels of charisma. Sanders is none of those things. As is always pointed out in election season, people don’t vote for resumes. Just because Obama had a funny middle name didn’t make him a hopeless potential candidate, and it says nothing about Bernie’s chances.

            • ChrisTS

              I also think the Obama family struck a chord with many people. That, plus his calmness.

              • Pat

                Especially as everything was melting down, economically speaking.

          • ChrisTS

            And, an opponent who selected a certifiable loon for VP.

        • CD

          Why does this silly argument keep coming up? Personal characteristics, however politically they may be understood, are not the same thing as ideology. Whether or not someone using the tag “socialist” can get elected president I genuinely don’t know. But the recent electoral success of black moderate Democrat throws almost zero light on that question.

          • PhoenixRising

            Because there is an argument for reading electoral politics in the US as a popularity contest.

            It’s still wrong, though, for another reason: Obama’s personal characteristics got him free media, which he exploited brilliantly by building an organization that (this is the key) brought out voters who are both part of the Dem coalition and not reliable voters (youth of all races and voters of color).

            Anyone using Obama’s residence in the WH as a premise to support ‘therefore anyone can be elected’ has to explain how their preferred candidate with different political skills and personal demographics is going to swing that same electoral-vote miracle.

            Anyone suggesting that a non-religious Jewish Socialist whose brand is ‘dammit I’m angry!’ will be able to rely on those Obama voters is…at the bottom of a hill.

        • random

          A black man with that middle name to boot!!! So I find it laughable for people to say that Sanders can’t get elected.

          Over 95% of the population in 2008 said they were willing to vote for a black President. It’s only 50% for ‘Socialist’ in 2016. ‘Atheist’ and ‘Muslim’ both do better than that.

          Just as a matter of liberal principle, I think its morally incumbent on Democrats to not nominate any white males to the Presidency for a good long while. That’s just my personal feelings about it though.

          • Gregor Sansa

            It’s only about 50% for “really Democratic” in 2016. And the Democratic nominee is always going to be “really Democratic”. “Socialist” is basically a synonym for that, at least when it comes to “I’d never vote for someone who…”

            As for your second point: remember that Onion article, “Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job“? You have to be crazy to want to campaign for President. I actually don’t blame sane people like Elizabeth Warren for not wanting it. But that means we’ll always be choosing between two (or with approval voting, maybe sometimes three! Awesome!) crazy people to be the most powerful person in the world. The wrong crazy person in that place can do a lot of damage. I think limiting your options to the smaller subset who are also women (and I know that’s not what “not white men” means, but it is in this case) is unwise.

      • LosGatosCA

        The potential of the country remains great, the progress in some ways is very promising, yet the limitations of the institutions along with the limitations of the imaginations of a significant minority of the citizenry remain frustrating.

      • nixnutz

        I try not to worry about electability mainly because I don’t have that much trust in my ability to handicap these things. Clinton seems safer but she has negatives too, I might give it some thought in the days before the primary but for now it’s not a factor in my thinking.

      • AMK

        Obama is Nelson Rockefeller in mod squad packaging. His family background is a bit weird, but just enough white people could get past that to see there was nothing remotely radical about his political ideas or his thinking. He always talks in measured tones about unity and tradition.

        Sanders is a different animal. Here’s a guy who insists on running as a “democratic socialist” and yells about “political revolution.” People who follow politics understand that his policies are really not so “radical” (certainly not as radical as today’s GOP) but people who follow politics are a rounding error in the broader electorate.

        • CD

          Um … I’ve been calling BHO a moderate, but

          Nelson Rockefeller in mod squad packaging

          is a little too glib. Some of us remember Attica.

    • efgoldman

      The second is that I really do think Sanders will exercise what power he does have more aggressively than Obama has, giving his supporters less reason to turn on him. A hypothetical Sanders who is elected in 2008 probably does stuff like prosecute hundreds of banksters, for example.

      Given the recalcitrant Republiklown congress, I don’t see how Obama could have done more strictly with executive authority.
      As for prosecuting banksters, emotionally satisfying, sure, and IANAL, but people I know who are, say the really unfortunate part is almost everything they did was legal.

  • RabbitIslandHermit

    I think Sanders, regardless of whether he wins, is pushing the Democratic party at least toward political evolution. Bill Richardson is out there saying that the party needs to move to the left at least on some issues, that indicates a pretty big shift in thinking.

    Also any Dem with half a brain and presidential ambitions is going to be tilting to the left for the next 8, or god forbid 4, years.

    • Yes, there’s no question that the Sanders run has been entirely salutary.

      • random

        I think Sanders, regardless of whether he wins, is pushing the Democratic party at least toward political evolution.

        Sanders would have been blown out if he’d done this exact same campaign in previous years, so I think this is getting cause and effect backwards. That Sanders can even get taken seriously at all is a sign that the political party has evolved, not that he’s evolved it.

        The Democrats are on the same leftward trajectory now that they were 10 years ago. They are actually less-willing to bounce the Establishment candidate than they were in 2008.

        I just don’t see where this is really happening; the things where he’s arguably made any headway at all tend to be issues that most of the Democrats support anyway. In cases where that isn’t true, Clinton isn’t tilting to adapt his less-popular position either. That tells me that this is more about voters driving the changes, not candidates.

        • RabbitIslandHermit

          That’s possible, but it wouldn’t be obvious without someone in the race running a lefty campaign.

          • Gregor Sansa

            This.

        • joe from Lowell

          Sanders would have been blown out if he’d done this exact same campaign in previous years, so I think this is getting cause and effect backwards. That Sanders can even get taken seriously at all is a sign that the political party has evolved, not that he’s evolved it.

          It’s both cause and effect. Hillary Clinton in early 2015 was to the left of Hillary Clinton in 2008, and that’s clearly a result of the longer-term trend you mention. It’s the same reason the Obama political operation adopted economic inequality as a big theme in the 2012 campaign when it wasn’t in their 2008 campaign.

          On the other hand, Hillary Clinton today is running well to the left of Hillary Clinton in early 2015, particularly on issues Sanders was using to run to her left, like TPP and KXL. That’s just a clearly a consequence of the campaign.

          It’s quite appropriate to place Sanders’ run within this larger leftward trajectory, but it’s important to remember that we aren’t talking about space probes moving through a frictionless vacuum. It takes agents to keep that shift going.

          • Hogan

            It’s quite appropriate to place Sanders’ run within this larger leftward trajectory, but it’s important to remember that we aren’t talking about space probes moving through a frictionless vacuum. It takes agents to keep that shift going.

            Nicely put.

          • random

            Obama vetoed the KXL bill last February. Clinton’s position on it has nothing to do with Sanders at all.

            TPP is also an example of a policy where most of the Democrats are against it and have been against it for a while now. Anybody serious about running in a Democratic primary is probably going to oppose it anyway.

            Attributing the Clinton camp’s positions even these things to Sanders is a bit of a stretch (and it’s just plain wrong on KXL). Especially given that on issues where he’s not in-line with the bulk of the party, the Clinton camp isn’t following him and is highlighting the distinction.

    • Phil Perspective

      Also any Dem with half a brain and presidential ambitions is going to be tilting to the left for the next 8, or god forbid 4, years.

      What Democrats are those? The last 6 years have really crippled the Democratic bench. And all the DC organizations hate anyone remotely like Sanders.

      • random

        What Democrats are those?

        Pretty much all of them who aren’t running in red states.

        • EliHawk

          Or any of them who gets nominated for Veep, and becomes the presumptive next leader of the party if they win the office in November, given that neither Clinton nor Sanders would pick an ‘old wise man’ Cheney/Biden Veep who would be too old to run in 4-8 years.

      • Matt McIrvin

        There’s always the danger of some Bloomberg/Joe Lieberman/Eliot Cutler type carving off enough Democratic votes on the right to throw elections to whatever horror the Republicans run.

        • random

          I’m pretty skeptical of this happening and also skeptical that if it does happen it won’t ultimately wind up drawing more from anti-Trump Republicans.

          • witlesschum

            Holy Joe would probably get more Republican votes these days.

    • Bill Richardson is out there saying that the party needs to move to the left at least on some issues, that indicates a pretty big shift in thinking

      Not in Richardson’s thinking: he was as far to Obama’s and Clinton’s left as any candidate on many issues in 2007-08, calling health care a human right, calling for scrapping No Child Left Behind and leaving zero residual troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, calling for drastic revisions in drug enforcement in favor of rehab, etc.

      • MattT

        He also supported a balanced budget amendment and named Byron White as his model Supreme Court Justice. Looking for some kind of consistent trend in his thinking is probably not a very valuable use of time.

        • efgoldman

          Looking for some kind of consistent trend in his thinking is probably not a very valuable use of time.

          Does Richardson have any more relevance or influence now than any big lefty blogger?

          • RabbitIslandHermit

            I dunno, he’s probably not the best example, just who I saw a quote from most recently.

        • Ew. Better not to think about it.

  • Barry Freed

    Where does Hillary stand on TPP?

    • manual

      She opposes it now that she’s running for president.

      • Barry Freed

        Well that’s heartening. No way she does that without Bernie Sanders running.

        • random

          No way she does that without Bernie Sanders running.

          I don’t see any grounds for saying this. Most Democrats oppose it and she’s running in their primary. On those issues where Sanders is out-of-touch with the Democratic majority she moves away from him, not towards him.

          She and Bill have a long history of following the voters prior to this as well. So attributing the same behaviors she exhibited every other election she’s been involved in to Sanders is not really a given.

      • Thom

        Just as he is slowly warming up to gun control now that he is running for president. I am shocked that politicians would change their positions becuase of political appeal. In any case, don’t we want them to respond, to some degree, to the views of the voters?

        • Linnaeus

          Sure, although I admit to being a little skeptical of the strength of Clinton’s opposition to the TPP. It may end up not being an issue by the time she would take office if elected, but I could see her signing on to it once it crosses her desk, with the reasoning of “well, I don’t like it, but it’s a done deal now and it’s too late to go back.” Fast-track negotiating authority was the real vote on the TPP, though I could always be proven wrong about that.

          • Thom

            Fair point on the strength of HRC’s views on this.

            • Linnaeus

              The prospect of Clinton doing what I suggested she might on the TPP, however, would certainly not be something that would cause me not to vote for her.

  • ajp

    Erik you phrased my thoughts better than I could. I would absolutely love it if Bernie magically had dictatorial powers and could implement single payer and all that jazz. But it’s not going to happen in 2017-2021.

    And the relentless right wing (and to a lesser extent left wing) attacks on Hillary Clinton have just pissed me off. Never been a huge fan of either Clinton but now I want to vote/volunteer for her just to give the middle finger to all the dumb fucks still harping on Benghazi and Emailghazi and Vince Foster and the Rose Law Firm and all that crap. Fuck you, right wing noise machine, I’m pulling the lever for Hillary now.

    • ajp

      And what Bill Clinton does with his stupid cock just has nothing to do with Hillary as a feminist. I’m so sick of hearing about that.

      • ChrisTS

        I’m with both of you (though, I was always an HRC supporter). The attacks from right and left are really getting people who vote without getting worked up… well, worked up.

      • DocAmazing

        What Wild Bill did with his cock is irrelevant, surely.

        Ending Welfare As We Know It, the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, financial deregulation, the Sister Souljah Moment und so weiter are relevant, since Hillary has taken some pains to point out depth of the Clinton partnership.

        She’s got serious history to overcome, even if it isn’t hers personally.

        • Thats like saying that the entire country has serious history to overcome–which we did by outgrowing that demographic/political necessity.

        • Hogan

          The fact that right-wing criticisms of Clinton are appalling doesn’t mean that no non-appalling criticism is possible, yes.

        • pegabel

          DADT and Defense of Marriage Act, too.

          • Brien Jackson

            Nothing says “my criticism of the Clinton adminstration is REALLY well thought out” like bringing up DADT and DOMA.

            • djw

              Don’t be silly. Obviously, the proper way to evaluate a candidate is whether their husband signed bad bills that would have passed over his veto had he not signed them 20 years ago.

              • Brien Jackson

                DADT is even worse though, because Clinton supported gay servicemembers and was torpedoed by Congress and Powell. And that’s not even considering that DADT was actually an imporvement over the status quo.

                • ColBatGuano

                  was torpedoed by Congress and Powell.

                  Powell’s disgraceful role in DADT is too easily forgotten.

                • DADT could have been a big improvement but was used more as a stick than strictly necessary. (It was also, of course, inherently offensive.)

                • Brien Jackson

                  Yeah, I’m not going to stringently defend the workings of the policy, but it remains true that it was, at least in principle, a step forward and that Clinton had wanted to end the ban on gay servicemembers altogether, which is the salient fact.

    • Linnaeus

      I would absolutely love it if Bernie magically had dictatorial powers and could implement single payer and all that jazz.

      Behold, America! Proof of the authoritarianism of the left!

      • Gregor Sansa

        Now we see the violence inherent in the system!

    • There’s that too, absolutely.

    • Amanda in the South Bay

      I’ve seen a lot of people (probably the wrong kind of people) think Emailgate is the end of Hilary, and Obama has a pardon for her all ready to go. It does worry me a bit. Though I wonder if Trump brings it up in a debate, Clinton will go for the “so, about those rumors you raped your former wife.”

  • scattapilla

    I feel the more relevant recent history doesn’t have to do with any candidate at all – it has to do with the Tea Party revolution of 2010. This seems to be the model of political revolution Sanders is talking about, and it can happen fast and without elite support.

    You also might think it’s an impossibility because the current DNC has an informal policy of supporting Republicans over progressives. Change that, and a lot of other things might change too.

    • the current DNC has an informal policy of supporting Republicans over progressives

      This is not true.

      • Davis X. Machina

        As is the argument — albeit implied — that the Tea Party ‘revolution’ happened fast, and without elite support.

        • ChrisTS

          What’s the expression: astro-turfed?

        • tsam

          Many many wonderful sources tell me that the Tea Party is a grass roots movement.

          • Right–they’re wonderful sources because the Kochs pay top dollar for web design.

            • tsam

              Did the police chief from the Police Academy movies make it through from that comment? (Testing my written expression skills)

      • ChrisTS

        Another piece of crap line that makes my blood boil.

      • DocAmazing

        We here in SF got Gavin Newsom thanks to the DNC. Not precisely a Republican, but not by any means or manner the best choice. Also not the only time the DNC has put heavy weight against a viable further-left candidate, here or elsewhere.

        • Brien Jackson

          It’s amusing how supporting a Democrat over a non-Democrat transforms into “not precisely a Republican.”

          • Morse Code for J

            Yeah. It’s almost like they’re a political party interested in protecting their fiefdoms against third-party candidates who don’t help them.

            • Uh…oh…I hear the sound of this argument starting again. Can I go do something else while this thread goes to 500 enraged comments?

              • Gregor Sansa

                Yes.

                Your comments are great if you’re here. But if it’s bad for your blood pressure, go outside. We seem to have skipped to March out there so it’s not even too cold.

            • DocAmazing

              Greens in SF don’t help the Dems on a local or national level? And you criticize the Left for not understanding how to get long-term political change accomplished?

              Also funny how Gavin Newsom is pretty much universally recognized as a pretty pathetic excuse for a Dem, except when we feel like urinating on some Greens.

              • Brien Jackson

                What’s this got to do with anything? The DNC is a Democratic Party organ, with an obligation to support Democrats over non-Democrats.

                • DocAmazing

                  And corporate tools over progressives, apparently. There’s no obligation to go hammer-and-tongs in support of the obviously worse candidate.

                • LosGatosCA

                  See Hillary, Bernie.

          • djw

            Also amusing: the absolute certainty that but for DNC involvement, a candidate who lost by 6 points and 15K votes would have surely won.

            • DocAmazing

              You might want to re-check the spending margins, the Bill Clinton robo-calls, and the rest of the campaign.

            • Brien Jackson

              This is actually a counterargument though: If the race was close enough to be loseable by the Democrat, that argues for *more* DNC involvement given their goal of electing Democrats.

              • DocAmazing

                Loseable to a close Dem ally, not a Republican. Loseable to a candidate who would have brought forward a whole slew of Dem policies.

                Good thing we got Newsom. Wouldn’t want progress.

                • Brien Jackson

                  “Loseable to a close Dem ally”

                  This isn’t material. The DNC supports Democrats, not non-Democrats. Joe Lieberman was “a close Dem ally” in 2006 too, and (post-primary anyway) the DNC supported Lamont.

                • EliHawk

                  Yeah, and everybody (HRC, Obama, Kerry, even that flaming liberal Evan Bayh etc.) came through town to help him, even though Lamont was a pretty big dip. The funny thing about being in CT that fall was that, war aside, Lieberman ran to Lamont’s left on traditional Democratic issues: He had ads about protecting social security and Lamont, heir to an I-banking dynasty and cable company exec, had ads about making government more like a business. When he tried to run for Governor 4 years later, he got crushed. Being Not-Bush and Not-Lieberman was all he had.

        • Hob

          I’m pretty sure my opinion of Newsom is the same as yours, but this just doesn’t make sense as a way of concurring with scattapilla’s claim that “the current DNC has an informal policy of supporting Republicans over progressives.”

          If that statement means “the DNC would rather have an actual Republican win than a progressive Democrat” – that’s the kind of thing people like to say when they’re pissed off at ineffectual party efforts, but there’s not really evidence of it. You could turn it into much more supportable statement by treating it metaphorically as “the DNC would rather have a less-progressive Democrat win than a progressive Democrat”… but that can’t be what scattapilla meant, because if the problem is that party elites are blocking progressive efforts within the party, then it can’t be simultaneously true that 1. we can have a progressive revolution “without elite support” and 2. what we need to make that happen is to change the DNC.

          Or you could, as you seem to be doing, redefine it as “the DNC would rather have a less-progressive Democrat win than someone from another party.” As Brien points out, that’s their damn job; it’s not the job of “the left”, but it’s surely the job of Democratic Party officials. If they are leftists who have come to believe that the Green Party is better for the cause than the Democrats, then they should at that point quit and work for the Green Party. In either case, it’s not at all the same as the untrue thing that scattapilla said, which Erik correctly pointed out was untrue.

          • DocAmazing

            Actually, we’ve seen the DNC pull their support of red- and purple-state progressives who might or might not have had a chance, thus effectively throwing those elections to Republicans. ActBlue’s been fundraising over that very practice for years now.

            • Hob

              Then talk about that, don’t bring up Newsom and try to make it about the Greens.

              • DocAmazing

                It’s not about the Greens; it’s about the DNC’s full-bore support for the clearly worse candidate.

                • ColBatGuano

                  clearly worse

                  Except for that pesky “being a Democrat” thing.

                • DocAmazing

                  Kind of like Bernie isn’t. Hmm.

                • twbb

                  It’s the Democratic National Committee, not the Progressive National Committee or the Better Candidate National Committee.

            • Brien Jackson

              “Might or might not” is doing a metric ton of lifting here.

      • Phil Perspective

        Then how do you explain the Florida Senate Democratic primary? I suppose you want to match wits with Howie Klein on this subject?

        • First, Alan Grayson is an embarrassment.

          Second, it’s the DNC primary. Not the general election. The candidates are Democrats.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Seriously, running Alan Grayson for Senate in Florida is a terrible fucking idea.

            • Jesus Christ, yes. Why people still think he’s a good guy is beyond me. He’s fucking horrible.

              • JR in WV

                Compared to a zebra, or to a Republican?

                I’m aware that he has issues that are questionable, but again, compared to whom? Marco Rubio?

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Obviously, he’s better than any Republican. What would be preferable would be to run someone who wouldn’t ensure that the GOP maintains the seat.

    • Philip

      The Tea Party was possible because of decades of work by evangelical Christians to take over the party, beginning in the 60s.

      • Davis X. Machina

        That’s the ultimate cause. The proximate cause was a non-trivial amount of millionaire/billionaire seed money.

        • Philip

          Either way, though, it means there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell of the left repeating it. Unfortunately, UNLIMITED CORPORATE CASH does not seem to go to progressive candidates very often for some reason…

          • Gregor Sansa

            “Accomplishing your goal would take lots more work than you’ve put in so far. So give up.”

        • random

          Seed money, a global economic collapse, a century of resentment over a slowly-dying white supremacist power structure, etc.

          Basically, not something any sane person wants to replicate.

      • random

        Yeah. And they were even building on a basis of white racial resentments that had been percolating for a century prior to that also. TP is not really something that happened overnight, it’s just the base of the Republican Party slipping their collar.

        • Right. The fundamental ideology of the Tea Party is white supremacy. This is hardly something coming out of the woodwork.

      • The Tea Party was not, and is not, an Evangelical Christian thing at all. I think the various demographic breakdowns of the kinds of people who identify as Tea Party had relatively little to do with the Evangelicals.

        • Davis X. Machina

          From the beginning, the Evangelical demo has been the most supportive identifiable group supporting the Tea Party.

          2011 Pew poll.

          Surveys from November 2010 through February 2011 show that white evangelical Protestants are roughly five times as likely to agree with the movement as to disagree with it (44% vs. 8%)…

          • But the membership itself was just 39% evangelical, whereas views on race were pretty enormously in one direction:

            Just 16 percent of Tea Party supporters say whites have more opportunities to get ahead, compared to 31 percent of all Americans. Seventy-three percent say both have equal opportunity, compared to 60 percent of Americans overall.

            Fifty-two percent believe too much has been made of the problems facing black people. Far fewer Americans overall — 28 percent — believe as much. Among non-Tea Party whites, the percentage who say too much attention has been paid to the problems of black people is 23 percent.

            A majority of Tea Party suppers believe the Obama administration treats both blacks and whites the same way. But one in four believe the administration favors blacks over whites, an opinion shared by just 11 percent of Americans overall and seven percent of non-Tea Party whites.

            • random

              The modern evangelical movement that starts in the mid-60’s was explicitly responding to the civil rights movement. The anti-abortion movement literally comes from the anti-segregation direct mail mailing lists. They are key players in fostering and preserving the ‘white backlash’ wing of conservativism, so this is all part of the same ball of yarn.

              Trump’s decent levels of evangelical support make little sense otherwise.

          • Supportive identifiable group–doesn’t that mean that they are the only group that the pollsters break out? Because, although I can’t be buggered to dig it out, I remember that when they did begin to actively study the tea party they were older, wealthier, and more educated than the Republican party at large–and than evangelicals tend to be. I’m sure there are plenty of evangelicals in the tea party but it was not primarily an evangelical phenomenon.

      • Hogan

        You’re thinking of Birchers.

    • random

      it has to do with the Tea Party revolution of 2010. This seems to be the model of political revolution Sanders is talking about, and it can happen fast and without elite support.

      WTF no. The tea party is a billionaire-funded astroturf campaign that harnessed the naturally-occurring white conservative backlash to the election of a black Democrat.

      Unless you plan to elect Trump to the Presidency, there’s no equivalent backlash on the other side to harness. Even then you still need tons of money to pour on the fire. The tea party’s main accomplishments so far at the national level has been an endless cycle of heartbreak, recrimination, and auto-cannibalism.

      • Not enough heartbreak, until now.

        • brettvk

          I’d say not enough cannibalism.

          • Only if its endocannibalism, otherwise we are all at risk.

    • efgoldman

      This seems to be the model of political revolution Sanders is talking about, and it can happen fast and without elite support.

      The TeaHadis were/are a 100% astroturf operation, organized by famous “outsider” Dick Armey.

      FreedomWorks, under Armey’s leadership, was a key player in the rise of the tea party in 2010. The organization helped elect tea party favorites, including Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Reps. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.). Armey led the fight to eliminate Obamacare, emailing every Republican member of Congress after the 2010 elections with a strategy for gutting President Obama’s signature health care law. FreedomWorks has acted an connector between tea party groups around the country, organizing protests against Obamacare and expanding the ranks of the conservative movement. In 2010, Armey and Kibbe together published Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto.

      • rea

        The TeaHadis were/are a 100% astroturf operation, organized by famous “outsider” Dick Armey.

        Yup, Dick Armey and his Army of Dicks

  • manual

    I generally agree about the realistic chance of Sanders’ agenda passing and his theory of the electorate. Congress and the electoral map will not change because of Sanders presidency.

    But the idea that there are not distinctions, suggests that you – and many others – dont realize the vast majority of what the executive branch does and increasingly will do. In addition to proposing a budget and legislation it puts together an executive branch that has a lot power to oversee existing regulations and implement rulemakings (the latter is very important).

    A Sanders presidency would be staffed by significantly different people. And while some may claim that his appointees may not get appointed, that is also true of clinton (or Obama) nominees. If you’ve been following this legislative session, the Banking Committee has not moved forward with 1 nominee, in part for dogmatic reasons and also that the Chairman has a conservative primary. So major nominees, if they pass, will probably be handled in package agreements between the executive and the legislative branch. If Dems capture the Senate this changes some.

    And very importantly, the lower level staff that will design many rulemakings, and does not require Senate approval, will be very different in a Sanders administration. There will be a fundamental difference – from economic issues to foreign policy.

    This seems to get underexamined by the media. I understand why, but it is very important, and does not require teasing out the different voting bases and revolutionary philosophies of the two candidates.

    • Davis X. Machina

      There’s 7000 jobs in the Plum Book.

      6000 of them get filled by the same people regardless of who gets the nomination…

      • manual

        Yes, but it is the political appointees (not all of whom need Senate passage) make determinations over rules and regs. You’re point doesnt make sense. The career staff are not overruling the political side, or the white house, on what gets done.

        • Davis X. Machina

          Those are political appointees…

          They’re the non-civil-service bods that get replaced by the executive.

          The relative handful that require senate confirmation get all the press, but they’re not the bulk of the positions.

      • Sly

        And that’s probably low-balling it.

      • Phil Perspective

        So Bernie Sanders would hire Cass Sunstein? You do know how much power Sunstein had, right? Why don’t you stop being a dick for once and answer questions seriously.

    • Brien Jackson

      “A Sanders presidency would be staffed by significantly different people.”

      It’s worth pointing out that, though this is possible, you certainly can’t say this confidently because Sanders hasn’t spent a ton of time talking about it.

      • manual

        He’s said a lot about regulating Wall Street, changing the finance revolving door (supports AFL-CIO proposal on this), a cleaner environment, a very strong labor movement, is a strong opponent of US trade, a public infrastructure and so forth.

        At a minimum, I think, of the top of my head, his CEA, NEC, Treasury, CFTC, SEC, DOL, USTR, Commerce and DOJ would be different, and have different priorities.

        If you believe Wall Street has committed crimes, should be punished and the finance industry is engaged in massive rent seeking, your probably going to make different appointments than someone who does not share those priorities.

        To suggest there would be no difference belies what we know about the candidates, their votes, and the staffs they’ve assembled as senators and candidates.

        • PhoenixRising

          Where is Bernie Sanders going to find these people, and how is he going to evaluate their qualifications?

          The executive branch is important. It matters who staffs those jobs. Your argument is that someone who is passionate about change and may have hired almost a dozen people to staff the mayor’s office in Burlington, VT 30 years ago is the best candidate to direct that.

          Because he believes the right things.

          I’m skeptical. Has Senator Sanders ever staffed an operation larger than his campaign? Okay, if not, has he ever had more than 10 people directly reporting to him? How many people reported to them?

          The deeper truth hidden in the bullshit about Hillary’s email server is this: Running State isn’t something just anyone can do, because having 7000 people report to you ain’t beanbag and you need a process to manage who gets your time. Step that up a level, and you’re in the Oval Office. I simply don’t see what experiences Sanders has to draw on to operate effectively at that level, and that starts with hiring decisions.

          I realize a lot of people like his ideas. I like his ideas. But unless he is covering a wealth of executive experience that hasn’t come up yet…burden is on anyone saying that he’d be great because he’d make great decisions about who to put in jobs that have a lot of power and require a lot of judgment.

          • manual

            You do realize he, if elected, would create a transition team, like every fucking president ever elected. Then that transition team would start interviewing candidates, like every presidential transition team ever assembled. My guess, given his actual work done, that his transition team would select candidates that agree with their policy agenda. His transition team would probably draw heavily from the progressive think tanks (like DEMOS, Roosevelt Institute), the AFL-CIO, NDRC, and the alphabet soup of progressive policy organizations.

            You do realize there are very progressive people in DC, in academia, and other places who can participate in the government, right?

            Look Im skeptical of some things bernie. But the line of argument that he would (1) not appoint different types of exec branch appointees and (2) that no such candidates, outside the orbit of the centrist democratic/finance elite, exist is completely weird. This suggests that there has never been a first-term president ever. The idea that the only candidate for treasury secretary has to come from wall street. Hell, Geithner, Dimon, Lew and Bentson (4/5 last SoT) were not economists.

            Whether you like Bernie or not, the line of logic where the people he would nominate are no different or that there is not a different reservoir of people does not make sense or comport with reality.

            • PhoenixRising

              So it’s turtles all the way down.

              Take my concern up a level: Who’s on the transition team? How is Sanders going to evaluate their recommendations?

              Your reply doesn’t point to anything Bernie has ever done to get experience making those kinds of high-stakes choices, which makes me think there is no relevant experience that I don’t know about.

              Obama made his picks, and a lot of left Dems are unhappy with what he chose, at a similar level of experience, using the process you’ve described. Those picks have been powerful symbolically and toward some policies–I personally was delighted to have a white lesbian married mom of a child of color who happened to be a union organizer and executive put into a position of power, and she’s done well with it. But it didn’t create a revolution to get her into a powerful, important position at Labor. That’s my point. And why would you expect that Clinton would appoint from different pools?

              To the extent that constraints in the system don’t prevent the outcomes Bernie is touting before any appointments are made, his lack of experience in staffing and coalition work aren’t assets.

              This suggests that Sanders supporters are the photo-negative of Trump’s supporters in the Senate GOP: Because the things he’s suggesting are pragmatically impossible and he has no existing loyalties to the party, we expect that he will be advisable about the right appointments for all the positions in the executive branch we care about.

              If that doesn’t concern you, shine on, you crazy diamond.

              • manual

                This is just a weird line or reasoning. Having worked with the Obama transition team, I just think were talking past each other here and you are projecting your feelings against Sanders ont othe transition team process…and Im sort of done with that argument.

                At least we agree on Mary Beth Maxwell!

                But…you’re massively underestimating how successful the Obama DOL has been! Fiduciary rule, large expansion of overtime, federal employee min wage, resolution of ILWU-PMA dispute. The Obama DOL has been a real bright spot the last few years, and its significantly better than it was under Bill Clinton. Appointments and staff matter! Was it a revolution or some sweeping change for the labor movement? No. But I dont believe in that nonsense or that the labor movement will be saved by the DOL absent acts of legal changes to the NLRA.

                But Exec branch appointments matter. Look at the Clinton CFTC, Treasury, and SEC. They were terrible and contributed to the subsequent financial collapse. I dont see Sanders appointing people who literally want to deregulate finance.

                If you believe that Bernie Sanders will be the first modern president unable to put a transition team to staff agencies and make picks. Well, thats between you and your god.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  You are doing god’s work in this thread, Manual. At least my god’s work, if I had a god. You are strengthening the anthropic principle.

                • Srsly Dad Y

                  +1 Preach it manual

    • Srsly Dad Y

      Yes, Manual, well said. I try to make this point in comments sections from time to time. Having non-corporate Dems like (spitballing here) Alan Morrison, Jared Bernstein, Zephyr Teachout, Bryan Stevenson, Rosa Brooks(?) and others running things on a daily basis could make a real difference.

      • I was glad to see Teachout decide to run for Congress

  • I think it may depend on what elections are “about” in 2016.

    If it’s about winning over independents or “swing voters” then I’d say Hillary has a better shot at doing that.

    If it’s about which party can fire up their base more, then Bernie may be the better candidate.

    What worries me, is that the people who are most pro-Bernie are college students who are not all that reliable when it comes to actually showing up at the polls.

    • Morse Code for J

      If Bernie Sanders’ voters could show up to midterm elections, Bernie Sanders’ candidacy would have been redundant.

      • RabbitIslandHermit

        I like how everyone blames a bunch of ditzy young people who probably don’t even live in competitive districts for Democratic losses instead of the people who are paid to make Democrats win.

        • Brien Jackson

          This is the most Firebag comment ever.

          • RabbitIslandHermit

            Very constructive. I’m not a firebagger, I’m just sick of the get off my lawn and vote hate parade. Maybe, just maybe, the Democratic party should think about how better to appeal to young people instead of just wishing that they were perfect political actors.

            • I don’t really know what that means. The party doesn’t really manage the nominating process for anything all that coherently. Political actors around here are canny, low level, retail politicians who don’t bother appealing to students because students don’t vote or have expectations which would be expensive to cater to or are outside the bounds of hte political realm. Career politicians want to get in fast and inexpensively and then want to do whatever they can, within the limits of the political system, to do what they think is necessary to stay in power, to do some good or some bad, and to satisfy their voters. If people want to have their interests catered to they need to vote first, and then demand a pay off. This isn’t rocket science.

              • CD

                Exactly. There is no Democratic Party hive-mind that can “think.”

                • RabbitIslandHermit

                  Eh, never mind. This has run its course.

                • Pat

                  We’re Democrats. We’re not that organized.

                  Some of us aren’t that sanitary, either.

            • Brien Jackson

              Well sure, there are a lot of structural reasons why midterms are so overwhelmingly Republican, but it doesn’t change the fact that the reason Republicans do so well in midterms is that a large portion of the Democratic coalition doesn’t turn out to vote in them.

              • RabbitIslandHermit

                OK, but I don’t see how “vote you stupid kids” does anything to solve that.

                • Brien Jackson

                  LOL, ok.

                • RabbitIslandHermit

                  No, you’re right, I think young people just need a little more savvy condescension thrown their way and they’ll turn out in droves.

                • djw

                  To summarize:

                  A: (acknowledges widely recognized unfortunate fact)

                  B: Stop acknowledging that fact!

                  A: Why? It’s true, isn’t it?

                  B: Well, yes, but acknowledging it doesn’t magically make it untrue, so you shouldn’t do it.

                  A: ….

                • Hogan

                  So the lesson is “Never say anything anywhere that you wouldn’t say in a political rally on a college campus.” Got it.

                • RabbitIslandHermit

                  No, the point is to look for actual solutions to said unfortunate fact.

                • djw

                  The premise that we should try to find solutions to this very difficult problem is entirely uncontroversial. But you objected to simply acknowledging the problem because doing so wouldn’t magically solve it. That’s dumb.

                • RabbitIslandHermit

                  Well I tend to hear it acknowledged in the context of “stupid idealistic young people.”

                • Brien Jackson

                  My “solution” is to bang the drum that Congressional elections matter, and that American politics isn’t about expressing a desire for “political revolution” in Presidential primaries every four years.

                • RabbitIslandHermit

                  I’ll admit that that should work better than the famous “Stay Home and Heighten the Contradictions” campaign the DNC ran in 2010.

                • joe from Lowell

                  My “solution” is to bang the drum that Congressional elections matter, and that American politics isn’t about expressing a desire for “political revolution” in Presidential primaries every four years.

                  Sort of an “I can’t do this alone” type of message, then.

                • djw

                  I tend to hear it acknowledged in the context of “stupid idealistic young people.”

                  The comment that inspired this accusation, in its entirety:

                  If Bernie Sanders’ voters could show up to midterm elections, Bernie Sanders’ candidacy would have been redundant.

                  It’s a straightforward claim about the consequences of the fact of voting patterns as they are, full stop. There’s no claim about stupidity or idealism, just patterns of voting behavior.

                • RabbitIslandHermit

                  OK, I’ll admit I overreacted to that comment, though I do think it applies to a lot of the stuff I see. I’m just sick of the primaries and really shouldn’t have gotten emotionally invested in the outcome.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  JfL: LOL.

        • Not blaming anyone.

          I just don’t want to bet the election on “Gee! White college kids really like Bernie!”

          • Scott Lemieux

            In fairness, Ralph Nader proved that a coalition of white college students and white academics could get at least 2.74% of the vote.

          • ArchTeryx

            Don’t you just love primary season, Major Kong? This one, especially, is starting to look like Dr. Strangelove all the way down.

            Once I figured out who I was going to vote for in the primary (not that it matters, since I’m in New York State) the whole thing just devolved to a boring piefight, which is rapidly approaching supernova proportions on places like DailyKos.

            I plan to vote for, and work for, the Democratic candidate in the general, because the one thing I feel with the heat of a thousand suns is that I Don’t Want Trump As President. Period. Full stop.

          • Gregor Sansa

            We’re making a risky bet no matter what. It’s a pretty good bet in 2016 but in 2020 it matters a lot; we need to take more state houses or we’ll get screwed again in redistricting. The primary today probably chooses what candidate we’ll have in 2020. We can’t avoid that choice. I have said why I think Bernie is the better choice for that. I don’t see why “yeah but how can you be sure” is a counterargument. I’m not sure, but I still have to choose.

    • tsam

      If my Facebook feed is any kind of reliable sample, a whole bunch of Bernisnistas are the ones posting memes about there isn’t even like, $0.13 worth of difference and some other yadda I scroll past at record speeds. Also horribly unreliable voters-or at least horribly misinformed.

      • I live in a hotbed of pro-Bernie signs. It wouldn’t surprise me if Cambridge went for Bernie tout court. But as far as I can see from reading Kos the pro Bernie people are not Democrats at all and won’t vote for HRC if she gets the nomination. Those aren’t the people with Bernie signs around here. They are lifelong democrats and will vote for HRc if she gets the nomination.

        • tsam

          I see those too. But a few of these guys are using the RNC anti-Hillary memes to promote Bernie, which makes me rather crabby and stabby

          • Pat

            Can I like this comment? Why, yes I can!

        • efgoldman

          I live in a hotbed of pro-Bernie signs. It wouldn’t surprise me if Cambridge went for Bernie tout court.

          As Loomis said, we don’t vote until September. I don’t see any signs at all.
          FWIW, there’s a Range Rover (very expen$ive) in the neighborhood with Carson(!) bumper stickers.

          • I’m pro HRC, myself, and I am not putting any signs on my car or house (yet). I think that signage is a terrible way of assessing real popularity and that contrarians, or people who like to think of themselves as contrarian and whose vote is expressive rather than instrumental are more likely to identify early with a candidate and be eager to put signs/bumperstickers up in order to have a conversation and convert other people. Or just put a thumb in the eye of everyone around them.

            • Pat

              What I remember are the middle class African American neighborhoods in SoCal blanketed with Obama signs in 2008. They were phenomenal.

              I was a Hillary supporter then (and now), but damn!

          • witlesschum

            A Mercedes with an InfoWars bumpersticker often passes me on the expressway during my commute.

            • DocAmazing

              The Boys of Winter?

        • Gregor Sansa

          as far as I can see from reading Kos the … people are…

          You’re doing it wrong.

          (Also, I for one am on Kos supporting Bernie politely and fighting against the bros. But those fools have infinite free time.)

      • fd2

        If my Facebook feed is any kind of reliable sample

        Fun fact: It is not

  • prplmnkydw

    Two thoughts…

    1) Nothing will ever change if we limit our imagination to what seems possible based on precedence. This country has a lot of roadblocks to any sort of real democracy, and the only way to change that is by talking about really changing it. Bernie is talking about it, unfortunately so is Trump. No one else is.

    2) Clearly it would be better to organize a long-term strategy to enact changes that would start to change the status quo, but American electoral politics dont seem to encourage long-term plans. Wouldn’t it be better to throw support behind what, at the moment, is the only campaign calling for change out there? Yes, Bernie won’t likely win, but let’s give him as much momentum as possible to help shift the conversation. Plenty of time to rally around Clinton or whatever after the primaries.

    • random

      Nothing will ever change if we limit our imagination to what seems possible based on precedence.

      I really don’t want to rely on imagination here.

      his country has a lot of roadblocks to any sort of real democracy

      The main obstacle by far is ‘actually showing up and voting even though it’s not for the Presidency’. Conservative bigots are also Americans, that Republicans get elected in red states and in low-turnout mid-terms isn’t a failure of democracy unfortunately.

      Wouldn’t it be better to throw support behind what, at the moment, is the only campaign calling for change out there?

      Every campaign in both parties is actually calling for change. All of them are doing that.

      let’s give him as much momentum as possible to help shift the conversation.

      There’s not really a causal connection between these two things. The main thing shifting the conversation is old white Cold War-era thinkers dying out. That actually is your long-term change agent right there.

      In the meantime, what I can do to shift the conversation is maximize my chances to make the Republicans lose the Presidency 3 terms in a row.

      • Pat

        In the meantime, what I can do to shift the conversation is maximize my chances to make the Republicans lose the Presidency 3 terms in a row.

        Talk about investing in America!

        We need infrastructure and research investment. On top of strengthening the ACA, on top of raising Social Security and the minimum wage, on top of correcting the plague of student loans, we need investment! Investing in infrastructure, investing in research, investing in new technologies.

    • Brien Jackson

      2) There’s an element of fairness to this, but on the other hand I worry that in addition to “calling for change,” the Sanders campaign is presenting a worldview both of change and of problems that are just incorrect. When Sanders substitutes corporations and income inequality for analysis of problems people of color face above and beyond the economic issues of similarly positioned whites, he’s simply misunderstanding what causes these problems (and while he does talk more about criminal justice issues and race, when actually pressed on things he definitely does not seem to grock that, as I believe Coates said, it’s not simply that black people are disproportionately poor). Similarly, I’m no more convinced that Sanders understands the extent to which the white middle class (broadly) is primarily motivated by their support for American white supremacy, and that What’s the Matter With Kansas is just a bunch of bullshit.

      And then, of course, there’s the BernieBros….

      • DocAmazing

        Sorry, Hillary understands the problems of criminal justice and race better than Bernie?

        Sister Souljah and the private corrections industry might have a different take.

        • PhoenixRising

          Maybe, but until SC we’re not going to know whether the polling indicating that Hillary has strong support from African-American voter is valid.

          The relevant choice, for AA and Latino voters who comprise a larger share of Obama voters than of any other Dem POTUS candidate ever in the history of exit polling, is between a white woman who worked for the black man who defeated her and has his endorsement, and a Brooklyn-raised Vermont socialist who has been a reliable vote for the gun lobby in his career in the Senate.

          I’m pretty sure that something her cheating husband said 24 years ago isn’t going to put a thumb on that scale. But we shall see, in a few short weeks, after the white people primaries are over.

        • CD

          That’s the other Clinton, no?

        • random

          Hillary understands the problems of criminal justice and race better than Bernie?

          Clearly, yes.

          I know for a fact that Clinton is going to prioritize criminal justice reform above most other things whereas Sanders, who has almost never faced a non-white voter in his entire career, consistently does place a very low priority on these issues.

          Criminal justice reform is one of the few bright areas where the GOP has signaled they are willing to do the right thing and help us end something horrific and racist. It’s a much higher priority and more likely to actually happen than ending banks and all that other jazz.

          • DocAmazing

            Criminal justice reform is one of the few bright areas where the GOP has signaled they are willing to do the right thing and help us end something horrific and racist.

            Pass that hooter, Scooter. I want some of what you’re smoking.

            • random

              Mind-blowing I know. Not at all expected, but definitely true:

              http://www.ijreview.com/2015/07/369054-many-republicans-support-criminal-justice-reform/

              These from last week:

              http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/30/us/politics/senator-john-cornyn-criminal-justice-reform-bill.html

              http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/democrats-criminal-justice-reform-heroin_us_56abc647e4b00b033aaf1167?ir=Politics&section=us_politics&utm_hp_ref=politics

              Here’s Pelosi saying she thinks the GOP is going to go along this time:

              http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/republicans-heroin-justice-reform_us_56998d36e4b0b4eb759e85a2

              The Koch Brothers actually want to reduce the prison population (insert stopped clock joke here).

              This is by far the brightest spot on the horizon of bipartisan legislation and it’s one that Clinton has prioritized and that she has a reasonable chance of delivering on.

            • random

              I responded linking about 5 different articles pointing out that the GOP and Democrats are working together on sentencing and prison reform to reduce the prison population and the Kochs are spending millions to try to make it happen.

              That post is awaiting moderation because of all the links, but in the meantime google ‘republicans support criminal justice reform’ and read up.

              Yes, this is probably going to happen as part of a bipartisan effort.

              • DocAmazing

                The Kochs are supporting measures to take the teeth out of white-collar prosecution; it’s pretty well-documented. The Republicans actually opposing things like mandatory minimums and reining in killer cops is not and will not happen; also pretty well-documented.

                But hey, there’s gotta be a pony under all that Republican horseshit, right?

                • random

                  I was unaware that heroin and meth trafficking were white-collar crimes now. And the Kochs want the prison population reduced across the board, consistent with their libertarian philosophy and small-government goals.

                  But hey, there’s gotta be a pony under all that Republican horseshit, right?

                  I’m sorry but I’m going to have to take Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and Elijah Cummings’s collective word on the likelihood of bipartisan action with the GOP Congress over yours.

                • DocAmazing

                  And the Kochs want the prison population transferrered to private corrections facilities, consistent with their libertarian philosophy and small-government goals.

                  Fixxored.

                • random

                  And the Kochs want the prison population transferrered to private corrections facilities, consistent with their libertarian philosophy and small-government goals.

                  Fixxored.

                  The Kochs are the ones who have to foot the bill for the private prisons. It’s the opposite of ‘for-profit’ from their perspective. Reducing the prison population saves them money and is 100% in-line with their Libertarian beliefs going back 50 years now, they are sincere about this at least.

                  Every politician, journalist, and activist knowledgeable about this topic or working on this topic says you’re wrong. The NAACP says you’re wrong for example. So I’m going to assume they know what they are talking about.

                • DocAmazing

                  Yeah, you might want to run that by people who have actually been following the Kochs, like Robert Greenwald.

                • DocAmazing

                  Regarding the Koch’s bona fides (as though they really were in question):

                  http://www.prwatch.org/news/2015/12/13002/koch-criminal-justice-reform-trojan-horse

                  Regarding the Kochs and the private prison industry:

                  Another consideration is this: at various times over the course of 2009 and 2010 CCA, Geo Group, and Management Training Corporation were part of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). It was at the December 2009 ALEC meeting that then-Arizona Senator and ALEC leader Russell Pearce introduced a piece of immigration legislation to the ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force (PS&E), a task force which CCA previously chaired and which it had been active member for almost two decades. This “model bill,” once adopted by corporate lobbyists and legislators through ALEC (through an unanimous vote, in which CCA claims it took part), became known as the “No Sanctuary Cities for Illegal Immigrants Act,” otherwise known as “SB 1070,” upon its introduction to the Arizona State Legislature, a month and a half later, in mid-January of 2010.

                  This bill — which effectively would essentially compel every municipal, county and state law enforcement officer to perform the duties of immigration enforcement officers under certain circumstances — was promoted to state lawmakers nationwide through ALEC, which was funded in part by private prison companies and other national corporations like Koch Industries, the National Rifle Association, and the American Bail Coalition.CCA and the other private prison companies also funded ALEC’s PS&E task force, which distributed the bill.

                  As such, it could be argued that a substantial portion of CCA’s business growth model may have shifted to the state level around the period of 2009 and 2010, as state immigrant detention policies began to get traction.
                  – See more at: http://www.prwatch.org/news/2013/09/12251/case-study-cca%E2%80%99s-web-influence-arizona-mark-brnovich#sthash.hBVB8AMT.dpuf

    • djw

      1) Nothing will ever change if we limit our imagination to what seems possible based on precedence. This country has a lot of roadblocks to any sort of real democracy, and the only way to change that is by talking about really changing it. Bernie is talking about it,

      In other words: We need tinkerbell, therefore tinkerbell.

      • PhoenixRising

        +270.

        And I’m out.

    • efgoldman

      but American electoral politics dont seem to encourage long-term plans.

      Worked just fine for the RWNJs. They started with school boards, town councils, and county commissions, taking advantage of typical very, very low turnouts, and worked their way up.
      Leadhead Snyder and Snotty Walker didn’t spring fully grown from Turdblossom’s forehead.

      • witlesschum

        Well, in point of fact Snyder actually wandered in from corporate America and pushed the guys who’d been doing all that hard work for the Michigan Republican Party down and took their spot in line. We have an open primary and aren’t afraid to use it, so a lot of moderate types voted Republican so they could back Snyder.

        But in general, you’re right, he’s just a bad example.

    • UserGoogol

      Nothing will ever change if we limit our imagination to what seems possible based on precedence.

      I disagree. I mean, certainly it’s true that if people don’t try to do things because they have never been done that can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. At some point people have to be willing to take risks and try the unprecedented.

      But it’s a false dichotomy to take that too far. If we have very good reasons to believe something will not work, then that’s a pretty good reason to not do it. Just because we have to take risks doesn’t mean we have to take whatever particular risks are currently on the table.

      And more than that, purposeful action is not the only source of political change. Sometimes the fundamentals will change beneath us; broad social forces as the result of things which at the human level just seem relatively minor but which add up. It may be necessary for big unprecedented action to finish the job, but by that point it may not require much imagination to realize that. But also, it might not be necessary. Many of the great progressive moments in history didn’t happen because of unprecedented actions being taken, but because the social forces aligned in a way that allowed ordinary political forces to suddenly accomplish great things. In terms of electoral politics, I think a fairly successful strategy has been to slowly fill a political party with supporters of your ideals and then wait for “electoral fundamentals” to swing power over to said party.

  • NewishLawyer

    Maybe it is selection bias but a lot of the Sanders supporters I know are in their late 20s to mid 30s. They tend to be fairly well off but largely urban so they rent usually. They are college educated and quite fancifully so. Some went to extremely expensive private schools. They large strike me as upwardly mobile in a semi-privileged way. None are in finance.

    What Sanders supporters often don’t seem to realize is that they are just a small part of the Democratic Party and the nation overall because they are also self-segregated. Sometimes their stridency and Clinton-loathing makes them look like Fox News caricatures of the latte-drinking liberal elite. There are not enough upper-middle class, semi-Bohemian voters to carry anything more than a Congressional election.

    I like Sanders but I often wonder if one thing liberals don’t get is aspirational voting or dreams. The liberal attitude for aspirational dreams seems to treat as gauche (because of some got mine snobbery) or deluded. People aren’t going to vote for a party that says “Lots of people have crappy jobs that they hate but we will create programs that make your life better in other respects.” They are going to vote for the politician that says “I can get you out of the crappy job” even if it is a lie.

    • RabbitIslandHermit

      Sanders is doing very well with white working class voters, so yes it’s selection bias.

      • Isn’t that purely regional? I see zero evidence that Sanders will do better with White Southern Working class voters than any other Democrat. Obama lost those people and, frankly, I think any good Democratic candidate should lose those people.

        • RabbitIslandHermit

          I never said he was going to flip Kentucky. I’m saying that in IA and NH he does better with the lower income brackets. The idea that he’s solely the candidate of affluent young liberals is outdated.

          He also seems to poll well in Appalachia, but again I’m not making any claims that he’ll restore the New Deal coalition or anything.

          • Right: its regional. And therefore no different than saying that any democratic candidate appeals to some portion of white working class voters.

            • RabbitIslandHermit

              It’s regional in the same sense that his support in general is regional, yes.

        • efgoldman

          Obama lost those people and, frankly, I think any good Democratic candidate should lose those people.

          Strictly speaking, LBJ lost those people, didn’t he? It just was a slow-motion avalanche.

          • Clinton lost them too. They aren’t coming back now that they’ve seen what Trump is prepared to pretend to offer them. They don’t want sweet reason, economic justice, or Dean’s supposed appeal to them. They want the wall, tasers, deportations, torture, and gyrating hookers at every campaign rally.

            • Manju

              Clinton lost them too.

              Cite?

              • random

                LBJ all the way. From 64-present most Dixie has gone Republican (or Wallace) in every presidential elections except for Carter and Clinton. And both of them were from the South anyway.

                (This is part of why it’s so offensive to assert that Southern Republicans aren’t a lot, lot more racist than the Democrats, the whole reason they became Republicans in the first place is racism, it’s basically a sorting process)

                Clinton definitely didn’t lose these people, he did very well with them. LBJ is the Man.

                • Manju

                  Clinton definitely didn’t lose these people,

                  So you’re asserting that Clinton won the Southern White Working Class vote?

                • random

                  So you’re asserting that Clinton won the Southern White Working Class vote?

                  No, I’m saying look at the electoral maps for every presidential election from 1968-1988 and then look at the 1992 map and tell me if you see something that sticks out there.

                  Blaming Clinton for losing Southern voters is like blaming Thomas Edison for the fact that it gets dark at night.

          • Manju

            Strictly speaking, LBJ lost those people, didn’t he? It just was a slow-motion avalanche.

            There was no avalanche among the southern white working class from 1964 – 2006. 2008 onwards, then you get an avalanche.

            The avalanche you are referring to occurred among high-income southern whites.

            As LGMers, I shouldn’t have to tell you that:

            1. The rich are at fault
            2. Thomas Frank is an idiot.

            I’ll cite u up on request.

            • Gregor Sansa

              cite me up, bro!

              (sorry, but that was too tempting. Seriously, f you have this stuff at hand, post it. If it would take you half an hour to collect it, don’t bother.)

              • Manju

                Here’s Paul Krugman, summarizing the findings of Larry Bartels and Andrew Gelman in layman terms: “Bubba Isn’t Who You Think”

                In short:

                “if you look at voting behavior, low-income whites in the South are not very different from low-income whites in the rest of the country”

                (This changes with Obama).

                So who is Bubba?

                It’s relatively high-income Southern whites who are very, very Republican.

                And he concludes:

                Can I get away with saying that rich white trash are the problem?

                I can link you up to Bartels and Gelman for further explanation.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  Thanks!

                • Manju

                  It’s relatively high-income Southern whites who are very, very Republican.

                  I should add, they are very very Republican in comparison to their non-Southern peers.

                • random

                  There was no avalanche among the southern white working class from 1964 – 2006.

                  Are we talking about the South? Because if so this is so wrong that it’s actually visible from across the room on a color-coded map. Look at the 1960 map and then look at the 1964 map and then look at the 1968 map and every election map since then.

                  Also the paper you are citing directly states that low-income Southern whites defected from the Democratic Party after 1964 and this is the major source of low-income white defection at the national level.

                  http://www.princeton.edu/~bartels/kansas.pdf

                • Gregor Sansa

                  (I know Gelman’s arguments on this already, and I can find Bartels’s)

                • Manju

                  Are we talking about the South? Because if so this is so wrong that it’s actually visible from across the room on a color-coded map

                  .

                  It’s not visible on those maps…because they don’t control for income. Bartels and Gelman have more sophisticated maps that do.

                  And they show that from 1964 – 2006 the Southern White Working Class voted similarly to their peers in the North.

                  It’s the (white, southern) rich who are peculiar.

                • random

                  It’s not visible on those maps…because they don’t control for income. Bartels and Gelman have more sophisticated maps that do.

                  I linked the Bartels paper above and he directly and unreservedly says that you are totally wrong.

                  The white working class in the South left the Democratic Party immediately after CRA and voted Goldwater later that same year, after being reliably Democrat in the elections prior to that. They haven’t been back since. Read the Bartels article above where he explains this.

                  Clinton and Carter (both white Southerners from working-class backgrounds) did relatively well with them and won a few Southern states, but that’s about it.

                • Manju

                  Also the paper you are citing directly states that low-income Southern whites defected from the Democratic Party after 1964

                  He’s saying this shift was:

                  1. Normal, Ie to be expected, ie should be controlled for because we are starting the clock in a place where “Democratic identification was artificially inflated by the one-party system of the Jim Crow era.” (from the 1st paragraph of the paper you linked to.

                  2. It’s high-income southern whites who did the unexpected during this timeframe.

                  3. Is Good, from an anti-racism perspective. Bartels agains:

                  Finally, my interpretation is not that the southern realignment is attributable to regional racism.  Indeed, it is more nearly attributable to the end of institutionalized regional racism (Unequal Democracy, page 77)*

                  *and no, Larry Bartels and Andrew Gelman do not deny the existence of the Southern Strategy, even though the quote above may appear to be doing that.

                • Thom

                  In response to random at 6:21 pm, Carter is definitely not from a working class background.

                • Manju

                  The white working class in the South left the Democratic Party immediately after CRA and voted Goldwater later that same year, after being reliably Democrat in the elections prior to that. They haven’t been back since. Read the Bartels article above where he explains this.

                  Larry Bartels, from the paper you are referring to.

                  Post the civil rights era: “…the South gradually but relentlessly gave way to a pattern not too dissimilar from the one prevailing in the rest of the country. That national pattern was, and still is, one in which low-income whites are a good deal more likely than more affluent whites to identify themselves with the Democratic Party.
“

                  There’s quite a disconnect between what you are saying and what Bartels is.

                • random

                  He’s saying this shift was:

                  1. Normal, Ie to be expected, ie should be controlled for because we are starting the clock in a place where “Democratic identification was artificially inflated by the one-party system of the Jim Crow era.”

                  Right so this supports the assertion that there was an avalanche of WWC voters defecting out of the Democratic Party in the South due to the CRA. Which is what happened, contrary to your original statement that they didn’t or didn’t until 2006, which is entirely wrong.

                  Even allowing you to control for the JC era, (which is kind of moving the goalposts to begin with) you still have another 50+ years after that of on-net discrepancy between the South’s WWC and everywhere else in the country.

                  It’s high-income southern whites who did the unexpected during this timeframe.

                  That’s definitely wrong. The overnight dramatic shift in the WWC in the South that has continued unto this day is unexpected by any standard or fundamental political science model. The map of the outcome of the election that year is also inexplicable by normal political science. It can only be explained by taking into account the thing that caused it, which was the CRA.

                  Finally, my interpretation is not that the southern realignment is attributable to regional racism.  Indeed, it is more nearly attributable to the end of institutionalized regional racism

                  This quote is neither here nor there. WWC voters in the South defected in a massive overnight wave from the Democratic Party in 1964, haven’t been back since, and Bartels isn’t actually contending that point, just claiming that it didn’t extend to WWC voters outside the South until later.

                • Manju

                  Even allowing you to control for the JC era, (which is kind of moving the goalposts to begin with) you still have another 50+ years after that of on-net discrepancy between the South’s WWC and everywhere else in the country.

                  Exactly!

                  Pre-64, there was net-discrepracy among Southern Working Class Whites…because it was a racially coercive one-party region.

                  From 1964-2006, however, we do not see such a discrepancy in this group.

                  But yet liberals single out this group, instead of the one with the actual discrepancy: Rich Southern Whites.

                • random

                  In response to random at 6:21 pm, Carter is definitely not from a working class background.

                  Totally my bad for conflating Carter and Clinton. Both are Southern and white but only Clinton is true WT.

                • Manju

                  you still have another 50+ years after that of on-net discrepancy between the South’s WWC and everywhere else in the country.

                  Oh wait.. i read “after” as “before”.

                  Bartels, Krugman, and Gelman are saying that there was no significant “net discrepancy between the South’s WWC and everywhere else in the country” (from 1964-2006). Their voting behavior becomes more similar to the rest of the county.

                  “if you look at voting behavior, low-income whites in the South are not very different from low-income whites in the rest of the country”

                  – Paul Krugman in 2007

                  The net discrepancy occurs with the rich.

                • random

                  Pre-64, there was net-discrepracy among Southern Working Class Whites…because it was a racially coercive one-party region.

                  In the 1960 map JFK and Nixon actually split up the Dixie states and neither has a clear WWC advantage. The only times the parties truly split this region up since that election, is when there is a Southern white governor on the ticket. In 1980, not even then.
                  This is not happening based solely on rich white people going Republican, no. And black voters don’t vote Republican, so that narrows the potential culprits down quiet a bit.

                  From 1964-2006, however, we do not see such a discrepancy in this group.

                  From 1964 until present day we see the same discrepancy, only it’s +R/+Wallace instead of +D. During this time period these states go 3rd party only slightly less often than they go Democrat. Again, not because of rich white people but because of poor white people.

                  But yet liberals single out this group, instead of the one with the actual discrepancy: Rich Southern Whites.

                  They single them out because there is an actual discrepancy between WWC voters in the South from 1964-present day and WWC voters everywhere else in the US.

                  Trying to downplay it by pointing out that rich white Southerners are even more Republican than their already very-Republican poorer kin doesn’t change this fact.

                  I’m sure gun-owning rich white Southerners are more Republican than merely rich white Southerners too. So I guess rich white Southern bigots are off the hook now, too.

                  Liberals target working-class everyone, so blaming working-class whites who screw the working class because of racism seems fair.

                • random

                  Post the civil rights era: “…the South gradually but relentlessly gave way to a pattern not too dissimilar from the one prevailing in the rest of the country. That national pattern was, and still is, one in which low-income whites are a good deal more likely than more affluent whites to identify themselves with the Democratic Party.
“

                  Nope, here’s what Bartels says on this topic:

                  For the South, Figure 3 shows a substantial and fairly steady decline in net Democratic
                  identification over the entire half-century, from 46% (a 65-19 Democratic margin) in 1952 to
                  −6% (a 38-32 Republican margin) in 2004. However, outside the South there is no evident trend
                  in party identification among low-income whites. Indeed, a simple comparison of beginning and
                  end points shows that Democrats outnumbered Republicans in this group by exactly the same
                  10% in 2004 (a 31-21 Democratic margin) as in 1952 (a 41-31 Democratic margin)

                  Bartels directly states that post-64 the white working class party identification in the South deviates from that of the WWC everywhere else. (Going by party ID is actually low-balling it because a lot of those Democrats are voting for Reagan and Nixon).

                  By 2004 there’s a 16-point margin between the two sets. The WWC South is majority Republican and the rest of the WWC is majority Democrat. And that margin is even bigger on their actual ballot voting.

                  I can’t make it any plainer than that. There’s even a damn chart illustrating this fact. So stop arguing.

                • Manju

                  They single them out because there is an actual discrepancy between WWC voters in the South from 1964-present day and WWC voters everywhere else in the US.

                  Random,

                  What part of

                  “if you look at voting behavior, low-income whites in the South are not very different from low-income whites in the rest of the country”

                  …do you not understand?

                  http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/09/24/bubba-isnt-who-you-think/?_r=0

                • Manju

                  Trying to downplay it by pointing out that rich white Southerners are even more Republican than their already very-Republican poorer kin doesn’t change this fact.

                  No. Bartels, Krugman, Gelman, and myself are saying rich white Southerners are even more Republican than rich white Northerners….not that they are more republican than poor southern whites, though of course they are.

                  The same cannot be said for poor white Southerners…For most of the time period being discussed, they weren’t very republican at all, let alone more republican than poor Northern whites.

                • Manju

                  Bartels directly states that post-64 the white working class party identification in the South deviates from that of the WWC everywhere else.

                  Yes, they deviate post-64…by leaning more democratic than their Northern peers…up until 2004 (with one blip in between).

                  Go look at Figure 3, which you reference. It’s on page 41.

                  You will see that Low Income Southern Whites are Majority-Democrtic in every year except the last.

                  In contrast, Low Income Non-Southern Whites break-even twice and lean Republican once. And for most of the years being graphed, they are less Democratic than poor southern whites…thought they are still solidly democratic.

        • efc

          From the NYT article RabbitIslandHermit posted a little down thread.

          There is at least some evidence that Mr. Sanders is performing better among Southern white voters than Mr. Obama did, not merely trading more affluent for less affluent voters to no obvious advantage as appears to be the case farther north. In South Carolina, polls often show Mr. Sanders in a close race or even ahead of Mrs. Clinton among white voters — his worst recent showing is an 11-point deficit, with 40 percent of the vote. In August, an automated poll showed a close race in West Virginia, one of Mr. Obama’s worst states in 2008.

        • Fish Pimp

          This arrogant attitude is everything that’s wrong with the Democratic Party. If you write off whole regions of the country, don’t complain when you lose all the Governors and State Legislatures and can’t redraw the congressional districts. Is it any wonder that there are no appealing candidates in the pipeline? The Democratic Party doesn’t recruit them.

          Why was Dean’s 50 state strategy abandoned?

          • random

            Because it doesn’t work and you have limited resources.

            Let me help you out here: no electoral strategy would have changed the outcome of the last two mid-terms. A 50-state strategy actually increases the chance that you lose a winnable state while chasing after a state you have no chance of winning.

            • djw

              I wonder if there’s a group of Republican voters who get all pouty and irate that their party doesn’t dump money into contesting the seats of Pelosi, McDermott, Kaptur, etc.

              I suspect some of the whining about the abandonment of the 50 state strategy stems from frustration with Dean not getting the nomination. Whatever it is, pretty much all the arguments for it yadda yadda yadda away the problem of scarce resources, which pretty much gives away the show.

              • Fish Pimp

                And you don’t think the AA firewall notices that they get no resources? There may be a surprise waiting for Hillary down south. Bill Clinton playing Sax on Arsenio was described as Pied piper of prison today. Dr West could be a harbinger of a rude awakening.
                He’s been down here quoting Dr. King about danger of incrementalism.

                • random

                  I’m interested in both your theory that Cornell “Obama is the shittiest President ever” West is representative of black opinion anywhere in the country, as well as your theory that black Southerners generally blame Bill Clinton for white conservative Southerners voting Republican.

                • Fish Pimp

                  1) I would never claim that any one person is representative of an entire community, but there are certainly those who believe he hasn’t done enough for the AA community. West is reminding the southern voters that triangulation meant they got thrown under the bus. I think Bernie is winning over BLM activists with help of people like Dr. West and Killer Mike. They want change.

                  2)They fully understand that Bill signed the crime bill and welfare reform bill which both disproportionately impacted the black community.

                • random

                  I would never claim that any one person is representative of an entire community,

                  You literally just got done claiming Cornell West was a ‘harbinger of a rude awakening’.

                  but there are certainly those who believe he hasn’t done enough for the AA community.

                  His approval rating among black Americans is around 90% right now.

                  West is reminding the southern voters that triangulation meant they got thrown under the bus

                  Actually what it meant for them is the Republicans only controlled the White House for 12 years instead of 20 and we have a 5-4 SCOTUS instead of 7-2. You obviously weren’t around back then.

                  I think Bernie is winning over BLM activists with help of people like Dr. West and Killer Mike. They want change.

                  “Of course we’re going to win with black voters we have a rapper on our side!”

                  2)They fully understand that Bill signed the crime bill and welfare reform bill which both disproportionately impacted the black community.

                  Except that bill had strong support from black legislators, since the issue at the time was seen as a lack of policing in minority neighborhoods being a manifestation of white neglect.

                  The other major provisions in it include taking violence against women seriously and banning assault rifles. Here, since you brought popular musicians into it, this is what the mood was like that motivated that crime bill:

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRf7xjdfMfM

                  There’s tons of music from that time period with that theme of the police not showing up when you call them. Good luck trying to corner Clinton on that one.

                • Fish Pimp

                  Holy cow, are you insufferable. Go look at the 538 polling average for SC and provide a cogent explanation for Bernie’s rise and Hillary’s decline. Slow but steady as people get to know him. Add a wave of momentum following Iowa and New Hampshire and it’s not impossible he flips SC.

                  And as for the rapper, they also have Lil B! But I think celebrity matters. Look at Trump. People forget that Obama flipped South Carolina by bringing Oprah to Williams Brice stadium.

                • random

                  Holy cow, are you insufferable.

                  And your entire understanding of the world seems to come from campaign spin instead of knowing the actual political history of the time you’re talking about.

                  Go look at the 538 polling average for SC and provide a cogent explanation for Bernie’s rise and Hillary’s decline. Slow but steady as people get to know him.

                  538 predicted long ago that you would likely see this exact sort of tightening as you approach the primary, en route to Sanders losing. Has nothing to do with anything you’re specifically talking about.

                  Add a wave of momentum following Iowa and New Hampshire and it’s not impossible he flips SC.

                  Your source 538 has him at less than 25% chance of winning IA. They also think that he’s still unlikely to win the primary even if he gets both IA and NH.

                  And as for the rapper, they also have Lil B! But I think celebrity matters. Look at Trump.

                  By comparison to Trump and Oprah you don’t have any celebrities! (I think Hillary’s got Beyonce and Magic Johnson)

                  And Obama’s also one of the most famous faces in the world at this point. Meanwhile your guy is trying to sell the message that the first black President (currently around ~90% approval among black Americans) is a failure and/or sell-out and campaigning with a guy who also calls Obama a failure and/or sell-out.

                • djw

                  This is uncommonly silly. Cornel West is an obscure academic. I’d be surprised if one voter in 100 knows who he is; he’s not relevant to anything here. Endorsing the notion that the endorsement of a rapper named “Killer Mike” is likely to be a net positive among African-American voters demonstrates just how little you know about the demographic you’re claiming to speak about.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  I believe that Bernie will continue to make inroads with AA voters; though it probably will not happen quickly enough for him to win, I hope it does. But honestly, please can it with the tokenism. Cornell West is an embarrassment to me as a Sanders supporter, not a positive argument. And Killer Mike is cool, but he’s just one guy, not a harbingechdoche.

                • Fish Pimp

                  This is uncommonly silly.

                  I mean…okay. You want to dismiss my point of view, that’s fine. But I live in South Carolina. I didn’t come up with the Pied Piper of Prison. I’m just trying to fill in the ????? in the Underpants Gnome Theory of how Bernie wins the nomination.

                  By comparison to Trump and Oprah you don’t have any celebrities!

                  Of course, I agree that Oprah and Trump are mega stars and Killer Mike is not, lol. But I think it could be that Dr. West and Killer Mike and “big” names draw attention that is important for state and local pols who have their own activist communities. These people herald the coming, they do not represent. They draw the crowd. From my point of view, it seems to be working as Bernie is gaining.

                  538 predicted long ago that you would likely see this exact sort of tightening as you approach the primary, en route to Sanders losing.

                  Again, okay but why did he say this would happen? What was a 50 pt margin has been cut to 20 pts. I think Bernie declares victory if he loses by less than 10 pts.

                • djw

                  I’m just trying to fill in the ????? in the Underpants Gnome Theory of how Bernie wins the nomination.

                  I think his chances of winning the nomination are extremely low regardless of the Iowa outcome, but if I were to try to spin a plausible narrative about how it happens I could do a lot better than “African American community embraces Sanders en masse because of public support from obscure Ivy-league academic and rapper with “Killer” in his name who spout highly offensive nonsense about sitting African-American president with 91% AA approval rating.”

                • Fish Pimp

                  I could do a lot better

                  Go on.

                • Fish Pimp

                  I think approval is one thing and support is another when talking about Hillary’s popularity in the AA community down here. I doubt they consider themselves her firewall. They seem open to considering other candidates and once Bernie gets a foot in the door, I think he tends to have greater appeal, especially with the younger activists. How much they can sway the older church ladies has yet to be seen. I think a lot depends on how Bernie does in Iowa and New Hampshire.

                  I don’t think it’s silly to suggest a West to Erica Garner to Justin Bamberg (state pol and lawyer for Walter Scott family) type wave could lead to a situation where Jim Clyburn sticks a thumb on the scale again. Clyburn doesn’t endorse during the primary but everyone still remembers what happened in 2008.

              • Fish Pimp

                Nope not saying Obama was a failure, just saying that, despite having a black man in the White House, a continuation of the last 8 years might not be as appealing a message to the black community as you suppose it to be.

                But I gotta crash, gn

            • Fish Pimp

              Doesn’t work? Dems controlled all three branches last time it was tried.

              • random

                Nope. The last time it was tried it was a 2nd-term mid-term with the other party holding the White House and the incumbent’s approval rating was below 40%. It goes without saying you are going to clean house (literally clean House) with that hand no matter what.

                You might as well just set money on fire as try to get a Democrat elected in Arkansas in a mid-term. It’s the exact same outcome either way.

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                yes and no- more dems does not automatically translate to more reliably liberal dems

                • Fish Pimp

                  This. They think they have a better chance with lower turnout. The incentive is to suppress the vote in exchange for a more reliable voter.

              • random

                Also the third branch is the Judiciary, the Dems haven’t controlled SCOTUS since before I was born.

                • Fish Pimp

                  yep. {hiccups} sorry about the lack of proof reading as well.

          • Brien Jackson

            It strikes me as far more arrogant to not view Republican voters as people with opinions and values and settled political preferences who can all be converted on a whim with just the right sales pitch. Recognizing that X% of people are going to vote for your opponent because they agree with him and not you may be a lot of things, but “arrogant” is an odd word for it.

      • PhoenixRising

        Where are these voters, and how do you define ‘doing well’ and ‘white working class’?

        I’d love that claim to be both true and relevant.

      • djw

        This is where it’s important to distinguish between “white working class voters” (large, largely conservative voting block) and “white working class voters who vote in the D primary” (small, non-representative sample WWC voters).

        • RabbitIslandHermit

          I’m not making any What’s the Matter With Kansas claims, I’m just pointing out that the idea that his base is overwhelmingly affluent is outdated.

          • random

            The main demographic distinction in his voters that I’ve been seeing is that they are very disproportionately male.

            • Jackov

              Sanders does 10 points better with men 42 vs 32
              Clinton does 8 points better with women 56 vs 48
              Sanders is doing better with women now than he was back in October.

              The largest support gaps are among:
              African Americans (+43 C)
              young voters (+38 S)
              old voters (+35 C)
              Hispanics (+34 C)

              • random

                Sanders is doing better with all groups than he was in October when Biden was still being polled.

                The gender gap was described as ‘yawning’ in the qpac from two weeks ago. And also the gender gap gets much more stark and the other gaps much less when you dig into detailed opinion questions about the two. Women and men basically perceive him more differently than other groups, at least on the polling I was looking at. Though it was q-pac, so maybe it was a fluke.

                • Jackov

                  I should have been more precise – Sanders is doing better with women vis a vis Clinton now than he was back in October.
                  The gap was 28 points now it is 24.

                  There certainly is a yawning gender gap in Iowa. In December, Clinton was favored almost 2-1 by women and now Sanders is favored almost 2-1 by men. Sanders is up 11 points w/ men and 8 points w/ women in the past six weeks.
                  Clinton DEC 59W 39M JAN 54W 32M
                  Sanders DEC 32W 52M JAN 40W 63M

                  Which Quinnipac poll had detailed questions broken down by gender, age and race/ethnicity? It certainly was not the Iowa poll from two weeks ago that mentioned the yawning gender gap.

                  In that poll men and women both viewed Sanders more favorably and believed he was a) more honest and trustworthy
                  b)shared their values
                  c) cares about people like me.

                  Both men and women agreed Clinton was better on foreign policy, terrorism and education and Sanders on climate. There were several areas of large disagreement – women really dinged Sanders on experience and chance of winning and men did the same to Clinton on handling the economy.

        • Jackov

          The conclusion is unavoidable. The majority of white working class Americans are simply not firm, deeply committed conservatives. Those who express “strong” support for conservative propositions represent slightly less than 40% of the total. The critical swing group within white working class America is composed of the ambivalent or open minded.

          Andrew Levinson The White Working Class is a Decisive Voting Group in 2012- And Most of What You Read About Their Political Attitudes Will Be Completely Wrong

      • Srsly Dad Y

        The polls I’ve seen on which the claims about “working class voters” supporting Sanders look like they are skewed (sorry) because Sanders has overwhelming support among people in college and just out of college, who have no income or low incomes. That doesn’t make those people “working class.” Sanders may have strong working class support but it is hard to see it because it is confounded with the age variable

    • Phil Perspective

      They are going to vote for the politician that says “I can get you out of the crappy job” even if it is a lie.

      And anyone else’s plan for that is what?

      • LosGatosCA

        I think the value of lying on jobs is self-evident , same as lying on budget balancing.

        The plan once elected is to 1) continue to lie and 2) blame it on somebody else

        – if you are a Republican that would be Democrats, immigrants, welfare takers, parolees, and in some circumstances the Chinese.

        – if you are a Democrat that would be Republicans, DFH’s, and in some contexts, business people.

    • Scientist

      Bernie and Trump are drawing similar percentages of their party’s voters and the 2 parties are roughly equal in size. So, the Bernie fans are similar in number overall to the Donald fans. The only difference is Bernie is losing because he’s in a 2-person race and Trump is winning because he’s in an 8 or 10 person race.

      • Sly

        Plus Sanders is running against the second-most popular Democrat in the country and the most admired woman on the planet, which is actually praise for how well he’s actually doing. Trump, on the other hand, is running against 11 people and, combined, the GOP base can’t figure out who among them deserves the most disdain.

    • joe from Lowell

      What Sanders supporters often don’t seem to realize is that they are just a small part of the Democratic Party and the nation overall because they are also self-segregated.

      You also seem not to realize this, because there is no way that the people you describe amount to 45+% of Iowa Democrats, 55+% of New Hampshire Democrats, or even the high-30s% Sanders is currently getting in national polls.

      • Gregor Sansa

        Thanks.

    • Ronan

      Yes it’s selection bias. Even if you were right, which would be by accident, your sample is still not really representative of anything, bar perhaps your group of friends and acquaintances.
      I always like your comments newishlawyer, but I’m glad youre starting to recognise that one should thread carefully while extrapolating in-group banter into national voting trends, employment patterns, cuktural preferences, and what not ; )

  • NewishLawyer

    Just as an anecdotal example, one guy I know who loves Sanders and loathes Clinton went to fancy private schools for his entire education. He lives comfortably in an expensive urban neighborhood. He can’t understand why people like HRC. The Clintons are to be loathed for DOMA, the Crime Bill, Welfare Reform, etc.

    I don’t know why but seeing this well to do guy be so radical pushes wrong buttons in me even when I agree with him

    • Morse Code for J

      Because he’s fine no matter what happens, unlike many people who will be harmed during a contradiction-heightening Republican White House coinciding with a Republican congressional majority in both houses.

      • joe from Lowell

        What makes you think his friend agrees with the Clinton campaign about her being more electable?

        You may have come across the phenomenon of the Sanders supporter who is optimistic about his general-election chances.

        • Morse Code for J

          He may not agree with the Clinton campaign, but it also sounds to me as if this person is incurious about the process by which all of these things from the mid-’90s he blames on Hillary Clinton came about. And by extension, perhaps incurious about the consequences of failing to support the Democratic nominee, even if it is the loathsome Hillary Clinton.

          I personally know people who fervently believe that we can get back to this blessed state of Democratic majorities in Congress with a Democratic White House, if we just grit our teeth and reconcile ourselves to the damage of a Republican White House and a Republican Congress for a few years. What most of them have in common is a feeling that it won’t necessarily matter that much for them personally, because they’re white and making good money doing something that will need doing regardless of who’s President. Maybe I’m unfair to map them onto NewishLawyer’s friend.

    • DocAmazing

      Um, the Clintons do need not to get off the hook free for DOMA, the Crime Bill, Welfare Reform, etc. They were bad things.

      Your perception of his class interests is very interesting, but has little bearing on the very real wrongdoing of the Clinton Administration.

      • tsam

        You can’t pin that shit on Hillary. Her signature isn’t on any of those laws, and that was 29 years ago.

        • sapient

          Plus Bernie voted for some of them as I recall.

      • CD

        I don’t know whether HRC is better or worse on these things than WJC. But it’s a wee bit sexist to assume that she is a mere extension of her husband.

        • DocAmazing

          She likes to point out that the Clinton Administration relied a great deal on her input and that she and Wild Bill were a partnership. “Extenstion”, no; partner, yes. If her fingerprints aren’t on those accomplishments, it’s because she’s vigorously wiped them down.

          • CD

            the Clinton Administration relied a great deal on her input and that she and Wild Bill were a partnership.

            What exactly is she saying about that, these days? I’m genuinely interested.

        • joe from Lowell

          But it’s a wee bit sexist to assume that she is a mere extension of her husband.

          Actually, it strikes me as a wee bit sexist to discuss Hillary Clinton’s role in the administration as merely the little wifey. She was a top administration official, functioning as a top advisor and Capitol Hill operative. I intend to do what I’d do with any such figure, and take agreement with the overall administration line as a presumption requiring a rebuttal.

          At a minimum, we can credit her with support for the initiatives she lobbied for on the Hill, such as the health care plan and “financial modernization,” can’t we?

          • CD

            Where are you getting the wifey bit? She was a participant in some of the things the Clinton administration did, notably around health care.

            She has a long record in her own right. Why not address that?

            • joe from Lowell

              Where are you getting the wifey bit?

              From your statement about consideration of her role in the Clinton administration, which is limited entirely to her marital status. People are not assuming things about her politics because she was married to Bill Clinton, but because of her work in the White House. The “mere extension of her husband” is actually “mere extension of the President she worked for.” Which has its own problems, I suppose, but it treats her as the high-level pol she was and is.

              She has a long record in her own right. Why not address that?

              I wouldn’t want to make her husband’s administration the most important lens by which to view Hillary, but it’s part of her record in her own right. Think we’ll start hearing insider stuff about Hillary-Bill policy/political/ideological splits?

              • CD

                we’ll start hearing insider stuff about Hillary-Bill policy/political/ideological splits?

                In other words you still don’t get it.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Either that, or you just ran into an argument you don’t like but can’t take on, and are making yourself feel better with a content-free bit of high-sounding snark.

                  It’s definitely one of those two things.

          • Brien Jackson

            Incidentally I agree with this. It’s one thing to isolate Hillary from Bill’s personal failings, but as far as the record of the administration she’s always sought to align herself closely with that, and used it as a political asset for her entire post-White House political career. It’s certainly not illegitimate or sexist to hold the Clinton administration’s substantive policies against her (at least to the extent you note the extremely hostile Congress in 1995-96 in particular).

            • joe from Lowell

              Thanks.

              I wish it was being done more in depth. There is too much simple imputation from Bill to Hillary, and not enough about where she stood in the administration and where she broke.

              I feel like I know more about her disagreements with Obama than with Bill.

      • random

        Some serious historical revisionism going on here….

        The Crime Bill was popular with black legislators and leaders as well as women’s groups and gun control groups. Basically the entire Democratic caucus supported it and most of the Republicans opposed it, because it was a very liberal piece of legislation.

        It’s only with the benefit of hindsight that people realized that some parts of it would have a negative effect on minorities. At the time everyone thought it would have the opposite effect.

        And….you’d have to be stupid to support same-sex marriage at the national level in 1997. Any President who was doing that back then was guilty of political incompetence.

        • ColBatGuano

          Some serious historical revisionism going on here….

          No kidding. The mid-90’s were vastly different in terms of the appeal of liberal democratic policies. Clinton winning in 1992 was a huge upset and then he lost the House in 1994 to the Gingrich revolution.

        • joe from Lowell

          It’s only with the benefit of hindsight that people realized that some parts of it would have a negative effect on minorities. At the time everyone thought it would have the opposite effect.

          This is “everyone” being used in the same sense as “everyone thought Saddam had WMDs.”

          Anyone who was around in the 1980s and 1990s knows that there was significant contemporaneous pushback against “tough-on-crime” politics and policy. It is very far from “only with the benefit of hindsight” that “everyone” realized they were a bad idea.

    • Jackov

      This is all possible. Sanders is doing well among white working-class Democrats after all.

      From that link to the NYTimes Loomis included:

      “The evidence for Mr. Sanders’s strength among less affluent white voters, at least compared with Mr. Obama, is persuasive in both state and national polls.”

      “But on the flip side in the early states, Mr. Sanders seems to fare worse than Mrs. Clinton among more affluent white voters”

    • Srsly Dad Y

      Do I know you?

  • heckblazer

    How is Sanders doing fundraising for Democrats running for Congress? Is his insistence on relying small donors working for lower ticket races? If it doesn’t is he willing to bend on the principle? More broadly, is Sanders ready to be the de facto head of a political party he technically only joined three months ago?

    These are important questions, I think, because if Sanders can’t/won’t help in Congressional races his revolution is DOA.

    • He isn’t raising any, apparently, compared with Clinton’s $18 million, though there are many possible reasons. (It’s through DNC, and they have issues with each other. But that suggests he indeed can’t.)

      • PhoenixRising

        Well, I’m waiting to see evidence that Bernie can win a CD that isn’t already reliably Dem. It’s going to be worthwhile to watch the exits in NH and SC to see if anyone who wasn’t already going to crawl over broken glass to vote for the Dem slate in Nov. shows up to vote for him. I suspect that the answer is ‘no’, but I’d love to be wrong.

        • joe from Lowell

          Well, I’m waiting to see evidence that Bernie can win a CD that isn’t already reliably Dem.

          Has Hillary Clinton even won a CD that isn’t reliably Democratic?

          Sanders won the at-large Vermont Congressional seat by defeating a Republican incumbent.

          • EliHawk

            A Republican incumbent who only had the seat in the first place because Sanders and a Democrat split the vote. The D & Sanders vote combined was 56%, the R was 41. Two years later, the Dems took a dive, the Republican had alienated the NRA while Bernie cozied up to them, and he won a seat that was massively trending D, before and after he ran there. Since his first election, pretty much every non-Jeffords federal Dem in Vermont won in a landslide. Saying Sanders won a reliably Republican seat in Vermont is like crediting a Republican who won a deep south seat in 1994 for winning one that’s reliably Democratic. Fair enough to get the W, but not a sign of any crossover appeal whatsoever.

            • joe from Lowell

              A Republican incumbent who only had the seat in the first place because Sanders and a Democrat split the vote.

              So, iow, not a safe seat for him to walk into. What you’re doing is telling me that the seat was competitive for this reason, as opposed to this other reason.

              A Republican won it. A Democratic won it before that. Bernie the Independent won it after that. IOW, it was a wide-open seat, and Sanders won a genuinely-competitive general election for a seat that wasn’t reliably his as soon as the primaries were over. He’s done this at least once; we know he can.

              Saying Sanders won a reliably Republican seat in Vermont

              is a straw man that nobody has argued. Rather, I pointed out that it wasn’t reliably Democratic. Vermont has three-way politics.

              Crossover appeal is one trait that doesn’t get tested in races that are foregone conclusions for one party’s nominee, but it’s not the only one. There is also the question of candidate quality, and experience winning tough races.

              • EliHawk

                So, iow, not a safe seat for him to walk into. What you’re doing is telling me that the seat was competitive for this reason, as opposed to this other reason.

                Yes. When two liberal candidates win 56% of the vote combined in a first past the post system and lose to the one Conservative candidate who won 41%, then yeah, that’s the reason the seat was competitive. In a world where Bernie doesn’t run in ’88 it’s a safe Dem seat. In a world where the Dem doesn’t run in ’88 it’s a safe Sanders seat. In a world where Sanders just runs in the Democratic primary, it’s a safe seat. When they removed one liberal candidate, it wasn’t a competitive district, and Sanders won by 16 points: Pretty much the exact same margin as in 1988. Bernie didn’t have a primary because he’s his own special candidate, but the moment the Dems decided to take a dive in 1990, that race was no longer competitive.

                Rather, I pointed out that it wasn’t reliably Democratic. Vermont has three-way politics.

                No, it doesn’t, certainly not in Federal races. Vermont had Bernie. In 1988 it had three-way politics, because both Bernie and a Dem ran. From 1990 on in any race Bernie ran, it was two way politics. Republican and Sanders. In any other one, it was Republican and Democrat. And unless that Republican was Jim Jeffords, the liberal candidate won in a landslide every year since Bernie was elected to Congress.

                Has Hillary Clinton even won a CD that isn’t reliably Democratic?

                I don’t have a district by district breakdown, but she won all but four counties, including almost all of upstate New York in her 2006 reelection bid. So yeah, she probably won some reliably Republican Congressional districts.

                • joe from Lowell

                  You’re struggling to be technically right about things nobody is disputing and ignoring anything that could be fairly described as a point.

                  I mean, look at this:

                  No, it doesn’t, certainly not in Federal races.

                  You then proceed, in a discussion about Bernie Sanders’ races, to point out that there are only three-way races in Bernie Sanders’ races. Congratulations, you sure are smart…but so what?

                  Nothing you wrote adds up to anything but showing off your googling skills. Would you like to address any points I made, instead of restating them with more evidence and hoping to leave the implication I was wrong about something?

                • EliHawk

                  You then proceed, in a discussion about Bernie Sanders’ races, to point out that there are only three-way races in Bernie Sanders’ races.

                  Show me all of Bernie Sanders’ three-way races since 1988, and tell me how Vermont has three-way politics. I’ll wait.

                  Would you like to address any points I made, instead of restating them with more evidence and hoping to leave the implication I was wrong about something?

                  Let’s go to your original point: You said Clinton’s never won something other than a safe D district, but Bernie beat an incumbent Republican. Never mind that Clinton carried some swing and Republican districts in her New York Senate campaigns, I point out, using evidence from that election, the election he lost one cycle before, and the rest of Vermont’s federal elections, that the district wasn’t actually competitive unless you have two liberals splitting the vote, and once the Dem took a dive in ’90, the district was completely safe, in a state that wasn’t just trending Democratic, but incredibly liberal, to the point that Sanders, Leahy, and every other liberal federal candidate carries the state by double digits during his entire time in Congress. Your point, such as it was, that Sanders’ has faced more difficult electoral situations than Clinton is incorrect. The guy who held the seat before him was a fluke. Beating him was not a particularly difficult, nor impressive exercise on Sanders’ part.

      • Gregor Sansa

        Some portion of that $18 million is actually implicit money laundering, in the sense of “I’ll get people to give to you and then maybe you think about passing some of it to me”.

        I really think that given their different positions vis a vis the party establishment, you can’t compare them right now. I am confident that Bernie would be a team player once he had the nomination. (Or once he loses it, as is more probable.)

  • RonC

    A couple of thoughts: First Obama was never anything but a mainstream democrat, never. Although he did play a progressive for the TV. The vote just before the election, I’m trying to remember, it was to bail out Wall Street, if I remember correctly with no strings. When Obama went for that, it was obvious what he was. Therefore, some of the anger against him was because he played someone he wasn’t.

    Two, so what if some percentage of Sander’s supporters do not understand how “democracy” works in this country? I’ve seen several people make this point. I don’t understand it. Everything in Sander’s history seems to indicate that he will push for real reform and know when to compromise when he must.

    People will come out and perhaps stay to work at the local levels, I do not see people getting excited and coming out for Clinton, so her nomination would tend to stifle real progressive efforts, just like Obama’s did.

    • What ungodly power you ascribe to Obama–do you think that one Senators vote made it possible or impossible for the government–George Bush’s government–to decide frantically to try to stop the then supposed death of the economy?

    • Brien Jackson

      “Two, so what if some percentage of Sander’s supporters do not understand how “democracy” works in this country? I’ve seen several people make this point. I don’t understand it. Everything in Sander’s history seems to indicate that he will push for real reform and know when to compromise when he must. ”

      If the theory is that Sanders is promising unsophisticated voters a “revolution” that will fundamentally change America while knowing it’s a bunch of bullshit and he’s just going to govern like a generic Democrat carving out whatever gains are possible, thus setting up this new generation of voters for complete disappointment….that’s a pretty strong argument to oppose the entire ethos of the campaign.

      • DocAmazing

        We are talking about the same Sanders who has been helping get all kinds of legislation passed for the Dems for a couple decades now, right? I think Sanders understands how democracy works. He’s even been quoted repeatedly as saying that turnout at the local level is necessary.

        • Brien Jackson

          Which is fine, and I don’t dispute that. But this brings into question the rhetoric he’s using on the campaign trail, and the extent to which he’s making promises to his most fervent supporters he can’t keep and setting them up for the sort of disappointment Erik has been talking about.

      • Gregor Sansa

        I think you’re misreading Bernie. He’s not promising to accomplish a “revolution” that will fundamentally change America. He’s promising to get started with it, as a long-term project. I think that’s pretty realistic; more so than the proverbial rearranging of deck chairs on the HMS Holocene.

    • CD

      Huh? BHO ran well to the right of Edwards, and just a hair to the right of HRC, in the 2008 primaries.

      • djw

        As I’ve said many times, it’s a real testament to the brilliance of that campaign that so many different D constituencies saw exactly what they wanted to in it.

        • joe from Lowell

          But David, aren’t you terribly concerned that he was making promises to his most fervent supporters he can’t keep and setting them up for the sort of disappointment Erik has been talking about?

  • Scientist

    I pretty much agree with the Mr Loomis. The way to build an effective alternative movement is from the ground up, not from the top (the presidency) down. The most sensible strategy is to identify a state or region most receptive to the message and try to win power there and show you can accomplish good things. Bernie was actually a great mayor in Burlington, but he never got anywhere running for governor and his party (Liberty Union) never became a force in the state.

    The best example in my mind is the Canadian New Democratic Party, which started in Saskatchewan in the 1930s and implemented programs like single-payer health care that eventually became national policy. I was very disappointed to see single-payer fail in Vermont. Bernie’s best strategy would have been to spend his efforts getting it working there and show it to be a success and then try to bring it nationally, rather than tilting at windmills trying to implement it nationally without a state to show as a test case.

    • tsam

      There’s somewhat of a consensus that the Democratic Party is moving left in recent years. This probably is the ground-up change you’re citing. Maybe Bernie is just a bit ahead of the curve on the domestic policy changes. He always was. Maybe he’s just 6 or 8 years early for his politics package.

    • mmy

      Scientist, the NDP didn’t exist in the 1930s. The NDP was formed in 1961 out of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

      The CCF, led by Tommy Douglas, governed Saskatchewan beginning in 1944. It was that government, led by Douglas, that ntroduced provincial health insurance in 1947.

      It was a long hard fight from that time to what Canadians now have. It wasn’t until 1966 that Prime Minister Mike Pearson created a national health care program (each province administering its own program under a cost sharing regime.) It wasn’t till 1984 that extra-billing was banned (under Justin Trudeau’s father, who was Prime Minister at the time.)

      Over the years that was a long and nasty fight over health care which included a number of doctor strikes.

      Douglas went on to lead the NDP and to serve as a member of parliament nationally.

      Fun fact, Tommy Douglas was Donald Sutherland’s father-in-law and Kiefer Sutherland’s grandfather.

    • Gregor Sansa

      person A: Bottom up!

      person B: I like Sanders.

      Person A: Splitter!

  • tsam

    Good lord. You all must watch a show called Make it Funky. Documentary on New Orleans music. Stunning shit. I’m listening to a trumpet soloist use modes I wouldn’t dare touch on the guitar and just CRUSHING IT. It’s sad how primitive rock music is.

    • It’s sad how primitive rock music is.

      You know, for some of us this is a big reason why rock music is awesome.

      • tsam

        It’s always been my favorite and remains so. It means a relatively crappy musician like me can be in a band. And it sounds awesome.

        • Vance Maverick

          Perhaps it’s the word “sad” that is misleading here. I like both complex and primitive music: therefore I don’t regret the primitiveness of the primitive stuff.

          • tsam

            Yeah–definitely a poor choice of words. It is one of the things that makes rock great.

  • Roberto_H

    Two words for Bernie fanatics: George. McGovern.

    I was there.

    • efgoldman

      George. McGovern.

      I was there, too. And I have real questions about Sanders’ electability and the possibility of “revolution.” But McGovern had a lot of problems besides his progressiveness and antiwar stance. Chief among them was running against an incumbent with a few real accomplishments, a ton of money, and 100% support from his party and establishment. The fact that he was a sleazy, crooked bastard only came out later.

      • Mike in DC

        The other component of this is that the Democratic party was far from unified behind McGovern. There were so many establishment Dems disavowing McGovern that I’m surprised there was room on his back to hold that many daggers. Even one of the biggest unions declared their neutrality in the campaign. This is the part where(hopefully) the “Sanders = McGovern II” argument falls short. He’s not running against a popular incumbent and the establishment is unlikely to stab him in the back to that extent.

      • Thom

        Although McGovern raised it consistently, calling Nixon’s administration the most corrupt in American history. He was laughed at and ignored.

  • joe from Lowell

    I find it unlikely that this particular candidate’s description of the wonderful world to come if we elect him is entirely accurate, too.

    Candidate Obama used to talk about whispering Republican supporters and bipartisan politics. Candidate Clinton says she has the bipartisan skeelz to pass a kick-ass gun control agenda. Candidate Sanders’ line about a promised utopia is more socialistic; that really seems to be the only difference.

    Where Bernie Sanders is running a presidential election campaign, and not (for instance) laying a strategy for the labor movement, I look at his message as an election campaign message – and I like it as a campaign message. I don’t just like it; I think it does our politics good for a candidate to successfully push proudly class-conscious language as his optimistic election-campaign vision.

    Keep Hope Alive. Yes We Can. Political Revolution. I think these were all good things.

    • fd2

      Hear, hear.

    • Roberta

      Precisely.

  • joe from Lowell

    I still completely believe that Sanders’ core supporters (and I am probably overstating the power of internet leftists as some suggested in the original comment on this) will turn on him with a fury as the next sellout once he takes power and has to compromise.

    This is a self-answering question. By definition, if Bernie Sanders were to actually win the Presidency, there would be a lot more people who’ve got his back than the relatively small number of messianic fire baggers this language calls to mind. More people, and less prone to such swings.

    • MDrew

      And/but isn’t an equally important question so what if they do? Sanders is still president in this scenario. It seems like that’s what’s worth evaluating. If you want a social movement, make a social movement. This is an lectionaries; we’re deciding who should be president. If you think that a Sanders presidency without a social movement behind it larger than Clinton’s would be would be inferior to a Clinton presidency, then by all means Cointon is your gal. But what exactly is with this recurring concern with the disappointment of (what would surely be a segment of) Sanders supporters? Erik points out that it happened it’s Obama. And that’s a huge problem, why? We got ACA, we got financial rcrisis form, we got etc. Do aim wish the disillusionment were less? Sure. But the important othing is the policy legacy.

      Again, if you think Bernie is a disaster as president without an unalienable social movement unstintingly behind him, then by all means just vote for Hillary. But just per se, I don’t get the concern with disillusionment. Lots of change comes not through the presidency at all. But rig now we’re talking about the presidency. And progress has come through the presidency. When it has, it seems to me that it’s often followed this cycle of excitement, followed by incomplete fulfillment of hopes, followed by disillusionment. But what does repeating tha cycle as often as possible produce? It produces progress.

      If you think it’s unlikely a Sanders presidency will produce any positive change at all without the total fruition of his vision of a lasting political revolution that takes the form basically of a movement devoted to him, then by all means I would say don’t vote for him. Even if you just think that produces less positive change than a Clinton presidency does. But if you think that a Sanders presidency with only a very partial or no movement behind him could nevertheless produce positive change, but you’re worried about his higher aspirations producing more disillusionment, I just don’t get what to be so afraid of in the potential for disillusionment. What’s been so bad about the disillusionment with Obama? What’s so useful about candidates being grimly realistic in their campaigning so as not to raise hopes, compared to raising hopes with aspirational rhetoric, positing equal results? Generally, change through this channel (securing and exercising power in the federal government through electoral means) comes along with disillusionment with partial, incremental progress. I have no problem with that model. Disillusionment is part of it. It’s what keeps people coming back.

      If people weren’t disillusioned by the corporatist nature of Obamacare, you wouldn’t have the single-payer advocacy that is a big driver of Sanders’ support. And we’ve stipulated that the Sanders phenomenon, even if we’re not buying into it as the way forward, is a very salutary development. Long live partial progress and disillusioned activists!

      • random

        But just per se, I don’t get the concern with disillusionment.

        There is no question at all that there’s going to be a nasty backlash among his core supporters either because he loses the election or he compromises or they learn that mid-term turnout patterns going back decades don’t actually turn on a dime. I don’t know how much that impacts the already-painful 2018 election though.

        What’s so useful about candidates being grimly realistic in their campaigning so as not to raise hopes, compared to raising hopes with aspirational rhetoric, positing equal results?

        The main problem here is that Sanders is ‘grimly realistic’ about most issues (see guns). He’s only ‘aspirational’ when talking about the issues he cares about.

        Meanwhile, Obama’s actually been the one engaging in aspiration speech and on a broader range of topics (see guns). Clinton’s the same way.

        So not sure what the value of his set of aspirational speech is compared to everyone else’s. It just turns into a question of different priorities, not of different quantities of hope.

        • MDrew

          The main problem here is that Sanders is ‘grimly realistic’ about most issues (see guns). He’s only ‘aspirational’ when talking about the issues he cares about.

          That’s pretty normal, and not really a problem. No, Obama was not across-the-board aspirational in 2008. He did not support gay marriage, for one. Generally, aspirational candidates’ aspirations are fairly targeted, and there’s not much gain to looking pie-in-the-sky across the board if focusing on a few areas is succeeding at building an effective following.

          More to the point, it doesn’t go to my point at all. Maybe Sanders is not even as aspirational as Obama was or Clinton is. I don’t really know. The question was, if he’s aspirational, and that means certain eventual disillusionment, what’s the Who Cares factor thats inherent in that? People became disillusioned with Obama, but we got a shit-ton of stuff. If Hillary is even more aspirational than Bernie is (she’s not), then that applies to her, too.

          I don’t particularly care about Bernie Sanders. I want to know what, really, is the big problem with disillusionment after electoral success. It’s not better than continued illusions, I guess, but I don’t see what the huge concern is.

          • MDrew

            …A reminder of how aspirational Barack Obama was:

            http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/01/bernie-sanders-the-new-barack-obama.html

            A lot of this is about tone, tenor, vocal musc, and the ability to craft a good speech. Which is inspiration. Obama was inspirational in spades. He was also aspirational, but not more so than Sanders, as that Chait piece does a good job enumerating.

            • random

              Again, you say ‘aspirational’ and I say ‘willing to promise fairly specific things he knows he can’t deliver because he wants to get elected’. Which is just not really a virtue if you ask me.

              Obama was aspirational and inspirational. Sanders isn’t; he’s more like a political platform in a suit.

              • djw

                Sanders isn’t; he’s more like a political platform in a suit.

                But it’s a charmingly rumpled suit!

                • MDrew

                  So you agree with that?

                • MDrew

                  …Whatever it means? (It seems to me that political candidates largely function as political platforms in suits. Plus maybe some inspiration to stir up the juices. The rallies suggests Sanders is able to do that a little, too.)

                • djw

                  I don’t really have any intervention or opinion I’m willing to stand on in the argument you’re having with random here. I was just cracking a joke.

                • random

                  political candidates largely function as political platforms in suits.

                  No, some politicians, especially the effective ones, are cults of personality. JFK, Reagan, both of the Clintons, Obama. Probably Trump too…they tend to be more politically dynamic and can handle changing circumstances better without being married to any one static policy.

                  Sanders is a cult of ideology. Without his platform he wouldn’t have enough support to be in the race.

                  If he and O’Malley switched platforms O’Malley would be the one nipping at Clinton’s heels and Sanders would be at 5%.

                  But that’s not true if Sanders and Clinton switched platforms; he would still be losing to her if she were running on his platform and he on hers. Because she’s more than just one relatively narrow and unchanging political platform, she’s actually a brand unto herself.

          • random

            . No, Obama was not across-the-board aspirational in 2008.

            His campaign poster was literally the word “HOPE” over a picture of his face….

            He did not support gay marriage, for one.

            This seems to indicate that aspirational rhetoric about a specific issue by the President is not that important in getting change accomplished on it.

            If Hillary is even more aspirational than Bernie is (she’s not), then that applies to her, too.

            Just by running for President while not being a man she’s more aspirational than he is. While it’s true that he is more willing to bullshit people, I don’t really see that as aspirational so much as irresponsible and self-aggrandizing.

            I want to know what, really, is the big problem with disillusionment after electoral success.

            Have you seen the condition of the Republican Party lately?

            People don’t just go “Oh well you promised me a pony and instead I got a stick, but it’s all good.” They get mad and stop trusting you.

            • MDrew

              Okay, I kind of see what I’m dealing with here now.

              Your “Hope poster” point is really lame. Do yourself a favor and read the Chait piece.

              And your GOP point is barely less lame. You can’t import a massively multi-causal institutional collapse and just say, “See? This is because of the thing I’m talking about!” It’s because of a ton of things – not primarily over-promising. The GOP delivered on a large percentage of what they’ve promised the base over the last thirty years. They’re just all finding out together that the results suck. Oh: and the present crack-up has a lot to do with losing two straight presidential elections, whereas the scenario we’re discussing here is Sanders actually being elected.

              Anyway, thanks for your thoughts, but I’m actually more interested in finding out what it is that keeps Erik coming back to this point, not what it is that keeps your fire for Hillary Clinton burning late into the cold January night (or early into the morning, as it happens).

              • random

                Your “Hope poster” point is really lame.

                Nah, you actually walked into that one.

                And your GOP point is barely less lame.

                A contemporary and well-documented and well-studied real-world example of exactly the thing you were asking about? That’s so lame.

                You can’t import a massively multi-causal institutional collapse and just say, “See? This is because of the thing I’m talking about!” It’s because of a ton of things – not primarily over-promising.

                The major component of the institutional collapse is the rift between the establishment and the base, which was caused by the establishment not delivering on their electoral victories. It is pretty much exactly what you were asking about.

                The GOP delivered on a large percentage of what they’ve promised the base over the last thirty years.

                You seem to have forgotten but the centerpiece of the 2004 campaign was an anti-gay Constitutional amendment. Then turned around and tried to privatize their Social Security instead.

                But just in the Obama era the pattern is:

                -Republican leaders promise impossible shit like repealing ACA and BENGHAZI! arrests, stopping the Iran deal, etc. It’s a long list of crazy shit actually.

                -They win impressive mid-term mandates with high levels of voter engagement and base-voter turnout and even call their ‘political revolution’ the tea party.

                -They promptly try to make immigration deals, can’t stop the Iran deal, get lit up by Clinton for 12 hours instead of arresting the whole administration, and then they fund aborted baby parts while a Republican SCOTUS upholds Obamacare and forces your state to let gay people get fucking married.

                -They then experience extremely high levels of anger, frustration, disillusionment, and don’t listen to a single thing the part establishment has to say anymore. Which directly gives you a TrumpCruzCarson election.

                and the present crack-up has a lot to do with losing two straight presidential elections, whereas the scenario we’re discussing here is Sanders actually being elected.

                Winning an election and then not being able to deliver the things you promised your voters is exactly what we’re talking about. That happened in every election the GOP has won in the last 12 years.

                not what it is that keeps your fire for Hillary Clinton burning late into the cold January night (or early into the morning, as it happens).

                You wrote a huuuuge post. You asked what the problem was and then I showed you a real-world example of exactly what the problem is, though really it should be common sense you don’t promise people things you can’t deliver.

                • MDrew

                  All right, well, I’m interested to know if the problem Erik sees with disillusionment is the one you have identified. Somehow I think his is less specifically concerned with the well-being of the Democratic Party in particular.

                  To me, common sense can include running on a platform based on your values, and, if you get elected, doing your best to enact a fair bit of it.

        • joe from Lowell

          The main problem here is that Sanders is ‘grimly realistic’ about most issues (see guns). He’s only ‘aspirational’ when talking about the issues he cares about.

          I dare random to name another issue on which Sanders is “grimly realistic.” Because the truth seems to be exactly the opposite of this claim, and that his language about gun control is the exception. By all means, throw out some more issue areas if you can think of any.

          This claim that Sanders talks bit about a narrower range of issues than Clinton seems pretty obviously wrong.

          • joe from Lowell

            Lol, I just noticed her flip-flopping to “While it’s true that he is more willing to bullshit people, I don’t really see that as aspirational so much as irresponsible and self-aggrandizing.”

            Heads I win, tails you lose. When Hillary stretches the bounds of plausibility with her gun control promises, that is to her credit and Sanders’ refusal to do so is a black mark.

            When Sanders pushes the envelope on health care reform, he’s bullshitting in an irresponsible manner, and we should prefer Hillary for her realistic conformance to political realities.

            • MDrew

              And whatever the case – more aspirational, less, aspirational in the appropriate areas while he’s not (or not) whatever – obviously there’s no danger that her people will abandon her, since she’s obviously getting the mix of realism and aspiration exactly right in her overall rhetoric, while the danger for him is overwhelming and disqualifying, since obviously he’s getting it exactly wrong.

  • mikeadamson

    So you can take a shot at something good or you can play safe with more of the same. Sure America won’t change overnight or even over decade but you have to push against the boundary if you want it to move. Live a little!

    • tsam

      More of the same? Think Clinton will sign a repeal to the ACA? Is this the same to which you refer? Or same as in Obama level same?

      • mikeadamson

        Same as in Democratic Party Establishment/Wall St./Ivy League same. I don’t think HRC is horrible but she’s a rearranger, not a changer.

        • EliHawk

          Yeah, if there’s one guy who’s against elite education, it’s the University of Chicago grad. O’Malley though, he did go to such elite universities as Catholic U and University of Maryland-Baltimore.

      • notahack

        Probably more of the last 8 years of the executive branch, with more hawkish to foreign policy, a tad more willingness to accede to Wall Street, and everything else about the same on net.

        All things equal, I’ll take a more leftish Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Financial Regulation if I can get one. I can’t see why Sanders wouldn’t be better on that issue than either H. Clinton or Obama.

      • joe from Lowell

        Think Clinton will sign a repeal to the ACA?

        I think Clinton and Sanders would sign, and refuse to sign, pretty much exactly the same set of health care bills.

        Both would veto a “repeal Obamacare” bill, just as Obama would do if one made it out of Congress.

        And I think, Hillary’s recent protestations to the contrary, that she would sign a single-payer health care bill if it somehow passed Congress.

        Perhaps I’m not understanding the question.

        • tsam

          The question was probing what “more of the same” meant. I’m still raw from the subset of Bernie supporters who keep insisting that Hillary is a Republican. I see a Clinton administration being pretty close to an Obama administration too–if nothing else based on what we’re going to get out of this obstinate Congress.

          • Fish Pimp

            Tell me how much daylight you find between Hillary and Rubio on foreign policy.

            • random

              Sure, they are in entirely different time zones.

              • Fish Pimp

                You must be an umpire by trade.

                • random

                  And you must be a college student.

                • Fish Pimp

                  That’s a rather pompous of you. They sound the same to me on Iran and Russia and Syria and Libya but clearly your mileage varies into a different time zone.

                • random

                  Again, if they sound the same to you then you either need to get closed-captioning on your TV or you are probably a college student.

                  This is probably related to you thinking the Democrats should have been wasting money in a futile effort to bail Mark Pryor out in Arkansas in 2014.

                • Fish Pimp

                  A smart guy like you can probably see the nuance in Hillary’s promised brand of regime change where it all just looks like naked aggression to us little people.

                • random

                  It’s nothing to do with smarts. Literally any person with an average IQ can discern the differences and drive an 18-wheeler through the giant hole there.

                  For example, it looks like Sanders supports the Iran deal that Clinton was instrumental in actually setting up. Rubio wants to tear that up on day one.

                • Fish Pimp

                  Hillary is always the one who “opens the door” but never the one who actually accomplishes the thing, but I take your point that they differ on their rhetoric on the Iran deal. I just don’t believe a President Rubio would do anything about it.

                  Neither Rubio nor Hillary would allow Iran to fight Isis in Syria.

                • Brien Jackson

                  “A smart guy like you can probably see the nuance in Hillary’s promised brand of regime change where it all just looks like naked aggression to us little people.”

                  Another way you can tell how SUPER SERIOUS leftier-than-thous Sanders supporters are: They’re the only ones who know there’s absolutely no difference between Iraq circa 2002 and Syria today, where a civil war has already all but opposed the dictator, who is now simply hanging on to a bare semblance of control only by bombing the hell out of his own country and people.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  leftier-than-thous Sanders supporters are

                  As long as you realize that “leftier-than-thou” is restricting that set by a larger factor than “Sanders supporters”, I totally agree.

                • Brien Jackson

                  On further consideration, it’s probably more accurate to label them Clinton-haters than Sanders supporters.

                • joe from Lowell

                  That’s a good insight, Brien.

                  Most Sanders supporters did not arrive at their position through process of elimination. Most are not merely choosing not-Hillary.

                  But the people you’re describing, they are. If you’re this gung-ho as an anti-interventionist, lefty-pacifist type, you don’t single out Bernie Sanders. He’s not Dennis Kucinich or Barbara Lee or Mike Gravel. People whose support for Bernie Sanders is based on horror of regime change and neo-conservativism are mainly voting against Clinton, more than for Sanders.

                • Fish Pimp

                  Less is more is not a far left position on foreign policy.

    • CD

      Could you actually take a policy area and work this argument out?

  • jpgray

    I think there is an unspoken agreement among pundits, even progressive non-establishment pundits, that the anti-establishment freak candidate is simply never to be forgiven his solecisms or unreasonable optimism.

    Bernie’s healthcare reform would save money, but far less than advertised. His argument for “millions of people getting together” being necessary for change is a truism and not a realistic plan – absent that revolution, epochal changes ain’t happening under any Dem president.

    But if I go to the LGM archives, will I find ridicule of Obama for his “may as well mandate people own a house to solve homelessness” healthcare reform arguments? Ridicule for his belief that he can find common ground with Republicans where the parties -at that moment- appeared to agree? Both of these primary arguments were intensely stupid compared to Bernie’s groaners. They represented a two-legged stool and an extremely naive belief that the GOP would accept communal ownership of major popular policies. But Obama was not a freak, and in my view was forgiven by pundits because of this. He was clearly a mainstream Democrat (and also a cool charismatic guy).

    But when you’re the freak, people start to expect mathematical precision in campaign promises, start to ask why you don’t support both more realistic AND more fantastical ponies. What’s supposed to go along with this harsher standard is complete political obscurity – Bernie’s poll numbers show that many voters aren’t following the typical line with regard to the freak, and that’s giving many pundits strange and uncomfortable feelings.

    Now Bernie is an awesome freak, but is there any surprise that only one candidate got a great big solemn article about his lack of public support for reparations?

    • Brien Jackson

      “Bernie’s healthcare reform would save money, but far less than advertised.”

      Given both the trajectory of even favorable efforts towards single-payer (I’m thinking Vermont, specifically) and the total lack of serious accounting in the Sanders plan, this is far from a given.

      And, incidentally, Obama’s mandate pandering was the worst moment of his campaign IMO, and nearly pushed me all the way towards voting for Clinton (ultimately I decided that Obama’s pandering was less offensive than Clinton’s on Florida/Michigan and the whole “blue state” argument).

      • Gregor Sansa

        Given both the trajectory of even favorable efforts towards single-payer (I’m thinking Vermont, specifically) and the total lack of serious accounting in the Sanders plan, this is far from a given.

        What? The Vermont example shows that there is no politically feasible single-payer plan even in Vermont, because doctors don’t want a pay cut. It doesn’t demonstrate that a politically infeasible plan wouldn’t have savings.

        But this is angels on pinheads. It’s Clinton, not Sanders, who has decided to make health care plans a main issue in this primary. Which is stupid, because in practice they are identical: veto Obamacare repeals. This stupidity should argue against Clinton, not Sanders. If TNC can call Bernie a hypocrite for not being a radical on every issue, then I can call Hillary a hypocrite for calling herself a realist and then campaigning on unrealistic distinctions.

        • joe from Lowell

          I view state-based single payer like state-based gun control: it can’t work on a state-by-state basis, and citing the failure of the Vermont effort is like citing the number of shootings in Chicago as evidence that gun control can’t work (when we all know about the problem of guns being trafficked from low-regulation states to high-.) It needs a nationwide federal solution.

          For single-payer to work in Vermont, it would required that, for instance, the federal budget space going towards employer tax breaks for health insurance (or subsidies for the Exchange plans) be put towards the single-payer system.

          • Brien Jackson

            Well I meant specifically that it couldn’t pass because the cost of it was much higher than anticipated. Yes, that’s partly because you can’t achieve massive cuts to reimbursement rates at the state level, but this assumes you can politically do that in a federal bill, which I just don’t see happening either.

            • joe from Lowell

              Sure, but the political problems are different.

              In Vermont, the actual budget numbers without federal help made the program economically impossible. It wasn’t ideological opposition, but math.

              On Capitol Hill, they absolutely could make the numbers work for a single payer system. It’s political ideology that’s the problem.

              • Brien Jackson

                I don’t think it’s ideology, per se. To make the numbes that get you the kind of savings you need to get to Canadian/Australian spending levels, to say nothing of the UK, would entail a huge systemic shift in the economics and business model of healthcare providers. Which is fine from an academic standpoint, but on a practical level Americans are deathly allergic to that kind of upheaval, and seemingly especially so on the issue of healthcare. People wrung their hands over Obamacare, which disrupted very few existing plans (and the ones that did were basically outright scams), so the idea you can maintain support for a change as disruptive as national single payer, in the fact of huge opposition from doctors and hospitals, just seems downright impossible to me.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Political, then, not principled ideological opposition.

                  Agreed, there is also the problem of a status-quo bias on the part of those invested in the insurance model.

                  And it’s certainly true that getting together a coalition to pass a single-payer health care bill in the next Congress has about as much chance as getting one together for a big gun control agenda. Those are going to be much longer efforts than just electing a President in November.

    • Brien Jackson

      Also, I want to address this directly:

      But when you’re the freak, people start to expect mathematical precision in campaign promises, start to ask why you don’t support both more realistic AND more fantastical ponies. What’s supposed to go along with this harsher standard is complete political obscurity – Bernie’s poll numbers show that many voters aren’t following the typical line with regard to the freak, and that’s giving many pundits strange and uncomfortable feelings.

      Reality has a liberal bias and all that. When you’re running a campaign on the basis that you’re different on the issues in meaningful ways, you really ought to put out serious proposals on those issues. It’s great that Sanders voices support for single-payer and all, but how much do you really support it if you aren’t willing to acknowledge where the “savings” comes from, and how much it costs. The Sanders plan really is no different than Republicans offering everyone huge tax cuts and then promising that it’s going to be great because everyone’s going to take home more money AND tax revenues are going to go up because tax cuts are so awesome.

      • jpgray

        That’s fair, but I think the starting point with Bernie is “either you’re a complete waste of my time, or you’re going to blunder about and break a lot of important fragile things.” Most dismissive or uniquely exacting criticism seems to start from that perspective.

        With a candidate like Clinton, that sort of right-out-of-the-gate skepticism doesn’t play such a major role. Her hawkish qualities and close connection to financial elites aren’t seen to be as threatening as an old man yelling at a cloud, mostly because we know what to expect from, and what to say about, those things.

        • DocAmazing

          mostly because we know what to expect from, and what to say about, those things

          Yeah. “Oh, shit, another war/recession.”

        • Brien Jackson

          1) On some level, I don’t necessarily care so much about Sanders’ white papers on these things because, well, they aren’t going to happen. It only bothers me to the extent that Sanders isn’t really hinting at what he’d like to do on the off-chance things change and Democrats manage to win Congress this year too. Single payer healthcare won’t be enacted, but there’s plenty of room to expand Obamacare and a host of other programs, and there’s no indication of any ideas Sanders the Presidential candidate has for them.

          2) Now, the part of me who’s had to deal with far too many annoying internet arguments over single payer can’t help but laugh at the SERIOUS SINGLE-PAYER PLAN that doesn’t at all acknowledge the realities of how single-payer cuts money (i.e. it drastically cuts reimbursements to providers, curtails spending on new equipment, technology, drugs, etc., caps and rations healthcare expenditures) and instead is promising higher levels of benefits than any other program without specififying any areas of savings. When you lack rigor to the point you claim you’re going to save more on prescription drug costs than total annual spending on prescription drugs, you’re actually doing a worse job than Paul Ryan’s people.

          3) In keeping with that, I am a little irritated at the way Sanders is being allowed to run a fantastical campaign that promises everything without, ya know, any well thought out policy plans to go with them. Frankly, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s the white male candidate, who’s supporters are overwhelmingly white and male, that’s in that position, and there’s more than a little bit of an air of white male privilege to it. You certainly can’t imagine Clinton or Obama being allowed to get away with it.

          • Connecticut Yankee

            Obama was allowed to get it away with it plenty back in ’08. Remember when he was telling us the individual mandate wasn’t necessary? This is a media darling thing, for “authentic” candidates. Of course it’s not a coincidence the Authentic Inspiring New Kind of Politician is always male.

          • jpgray

            1. This is true for any major policy proposal of a presidential candidate – they don’t tend to happen as defined in the campaign, and may not happen at all (public option, no lobbyists regulating their lobby employers). I don’t think Sanders has been an all-or-nothing guy when given actual authority/opportunity, either as mayor or in Congress, so there’s reason to believe he will still get the sausage made if his dream fails.

            2. This is all true, but at the same time there are many realistic SP approaches that do save money at Sanders levels, and the question is whether we forgive (different from never criticize) Sanders or not for emphasizing the gain and eliding or obscuring the pain. Again, this isn’t unique behavior – the mandate was also quite unpopular.

            3. You could make this same argument for Obama ’08 in some respects. I’m not sure Bernie is saying anything more vague or platitudinous than Obama’s bipartisan legislative theory – that no one heretofore had the hope or audacity to reach out to the GOP on popular policies for which both sides had expressed support. On many proposals, e.g. free public university and paid maternal leave, unlikely as the proposals are to pass, the proposals aren’t wholly oblivious or impractical in terms of numbers by campaign standards.

            • Brien Jackson

              This is underselling the point significantly: Sanders’ plan doesn’t “obscure the pain,” it completely ignores the principal means by which single payer would achieve massive savings either because Sanders and his people don’t have a clue how single payer systems work or because those things are extremely unpopular and would make the proposal DOA. This isn’t insignificant either, it cuts directly at the premise that it’s only corporate influence and Washington corruption preventing us from getting all the ponies.

              • Connecticut Yankee

                Sanders doesn’t ignore the way single payer actually saves money so much as he says it will do the exact opposite of what it does everywhere else. And even with the generous assumptions he makes he’s still raising costs for people on Medicaid. You’d think a socialist candidate promising the mathematically impossible would at least make sure things look good for them, but Sanders doesn’t.

      • joe from Lowell

        When you’re running a campaign on the basis that you’re different on the issues in meaningful ways, you really ought to put out serious proposals on those issues.

        So candidates who break with the establishment and run on positions to the left of the party median have a heightened responsibility when it comes to policy detail, compared to those who run on a more centrist platform.

        I’m not sure I agree with that; it seems like tilting the playing field for the home team.

        • Brien Jackson

          I’m sorry, did the Clinton campaign not put out white papers in this cycle or something?

          • joe from Lowell

            What are you talking about? Where did that come from?

            Here’s the question again: Why did you just argue that non-mainstream policy proposals have a special responsibility to go into gory detail?

            It looks like you’re saying that a candidate arguing for single payer, for instance, has a particular responsibility to do that – that running against the establishment position, in and of itself imposes a heightened responsibility on that front.

            • Brien Jackson

              I didn’t say they have a special responsibility, in the sense that I think this applies to all candidates. The point is merely that the actual proposals Sanders campaign aren’t serious at all, not that they need to be more rigorous than Clinton’s.

            • nixnutz

              If we’re voting aspirationally I’d like a candidate who’s not 100% full of shit. That’s the revolution I’d like to see.

              In my dream world the U.S. would have a democratic socialist party and they’d have my vote forever. I like the idea of Sanders but he has a long way to go before he’s convinced me that’s he’s trustworthy and promising shit he knows he can’t deliver is not helping.

              I have a lot of qualms about Hillary but on a human level I trust her more than Bernie.

              • Brien Jackson

                If nothing else, it definitely supports my long running suspicion that the single payer pony advocates have absolutely no fucking clue how single payer actually works.

      • jpgray

        Brien, to address your edit, the analogy to tax cut fabulism breaks down over the fact that many Bernie critics have themselves proposed single payer plans that would save about what he claims to – mostly by restricting care in specific circumstances where Bernie does not.

        There is not, to my knowledge, any tax cut plan that begins to approach results anywhere close to the outrageous promises of the GOP.

        • Brien Jackson

          “Brien, to address your edit, the analogy to tax cut fabulism breaks down over the fact that many Bernie critics have themselves proposed single payer plans that would save about what he claims to – mostly by restricting care in specific circumstances where Bernie does not. ”

          Well….yeah, that’s the point. The “critics” plan acknowledges that you achieve those savings with huge changes to the procurement of healthcare and healthcare economics, in ways that have the principal effect of reducing the amount of money that doctors and hospitals earn. Sanders’ plan doesn’t, because that’s roughly the point where popular support for single-payer plans drop precipitously.

          “There is not, to my knowledge, any tax cut plan that begins to approach results anywhere close to the outrageous promises of the GOP.”

          To be as fair as we can be, I don’t think Paul Ryan has ever proposed a tax cut that was larger than the amount of tax revenue the federal government actually collects in a year.

        • joe from Lowell

          I’d say it also breaks down over the fact that tax cuts do not lead to higher revenues – that theory is observably false – while single payer health care plans actually do reduce health care costs.

          Up until yesterday, I thought there would be universal agreement on both of those points, at least among self-described liberals. Apparently, there are some ‘Payer Haters here who genuinely, in their heart of hearts, consider the argument about single-payer saving money to be equivalent to faith in the Laffer Curve.

          • Brien Jackson

            Single payer doesn’t natually save money, it does so because of policy choices made under the system. It’s entirely possible, in theory, that you could spend more under single payer if, for some reason, you decided to increase payments to providers, drug companies, etc. Which is silly, sure, but then note that Sanders is propising a plan with no co-pays or deductibles, which doesn’t exist in any other single-payer system.

            • joe from Lowell

              Single payer doesn’t natually save money, it does so because of policy choices made under the system.

              Disagree. The elimination of the middle-man and all the overhead is a huge savings. Just look at how much more efficient Medicare and the VA are than private insurance – not even talking reimbursement rates here, but just operations. Single payer in and of itself is more efficient, before we even get to reimbursement rates.

              • Brien Jackson

                Ok, so you eliminate some administrative costs and profit margins. You could just as easily plug that money back into the system in the form of more generous benefits/payments that would eliminate their value as “savings.”

                • joe from Lowell

                  …and you could design a big upper-income tax cut bill to include lots of budget cuts and tax increases in other places in order to make the whole thing revenue-positive, too.

                  Neither of our observations are really relevant to the question of whether “Tax cuts increase revenue” and “Single-payer health care saves money” are equivalent. Dreaming up implausible exceptions to the rule, which go completely against the desired and states policies of the people proposing them, doesn’t seem like a very useful exercise.

                • Brien Jackson

                  I think it’s probably worth backign this up and rephrasing the original statement: Sanders’ plan calls for a single-payer system with expanded benefits, but proposes cuts to provider payments AND middle class tax increases that are simply too low. In other words, Sanders plan can only work if it either a) taxes people at a much higher rate than it says it will, b) cuts provider reimbursements to a much greater extent than it promises too, or c) adds a lot more to the budget deficit than it says it will.

                  Which is very much like your bog standard Republican plan to cut taxes without having to cut spending or increasing the deficit through magic. Republicans claim economic growth will make up the gap, Sanders strongly implies that once you have “single payer” you’ll have the same level of costs they have in the UK.

                • joe from Lowell

                  I think your determination to take shots at Bernie Sanders has caused collateral damage, too.

                  You were arguing against single-payer health care, Brien. It was so important to you to push the line that’s been coming out of the Hillary campaign that you went after single-payer health care itself.

                  Republicans claim economic growth will make up the gap, Sanders strongly implies that once you have “single payer” you’ll have the same level of costs they have in the UK.

                  And you argue that those two claims are equivalent in terms of their truth value and what they tell us about the candidates’ honesty. You treat “single payer will reduce costs” and “income tax cuts will increase revenues” as equivalent.

                  I, being a liberal, think there is a truthful basis for one of these claims and none for the other, and that running a campaign based on the claim that single-payer health care will save money (even without showing your work), and running a campaign based on the claim that income tax cuts will reduce the deficit (even without showing your work), are two very different things, only one of which demonstrates either dishonesty or delusion.

                • Brien Jackson

                  “You were arguing against single-payer health care, Brien. It was so important to you to push the line that’s been coming out of the Hillary campaign that you went after single-payer health care itself.”

                  I’m not so sure that’s true, but if it is well…so what?

                  And you argue that those two claims are equivalent in terms of their truth value and what they tell us about the candidates’ honesty. You treat “single payer will reduce costs” and “income tax cuts will increase revenues” as equivalent.

                  I, being a liberal, think there is a truthful basis for one of these claims and none for the other, and that running a campaign based on the claim that single-payer health care will save money (even without showing your work), and running a campaign based on the claim that income tax cuts will reduce the deficit (even without showing your work), are two very different things, only one of which demonstrates either dishonesty or delusion.

                  Your simplification leaves out the crux of things though: Sanders is promising UK level prices for healthcare WITH lower premiums/taxes and more generous benefits, without specifying reimbursement rate cuts. This isn’t a minor detail either: His plan promises saving from administrative costs and prescription drug prices (overstated savings at that, but it’s neither here nor there) and from there it’s just hand-waivy circular logic. You can argue differences in degree between that and Republican tax cut buffoonery, but no I don’t think they’re any different at all. They both promise stupendous benefits while pretending that there’s no tradeoff.

  • Mike in DC

    Change does come from the ground up. In terms of how do we get there, I would start by looking at 2006 and 2008–what was done right/differently? Would a revamped 50 state strategy get us further along the path to performing better in midterms?

    Another question is: how do we take this impulse/enthusiasm for change and translate it into an enduring, strong movement for progressive change, instead of just something that swells up every 4-8 years and then dissipates shortly after inauguration? Obama For America was supposed to be a movement in that direction, but something went wrong.

  • ASV

    I have been waiting for the rest of the revolutionaries to be brought out for quite a while. Here in Illinois we have one of the most flippable Senate seats in the country. There is a contested Democratic primary featuring a sitting representative, a sitting state senator, and the head of the Chicago Urban League. The election is March 15, the same day as our presidential primary. Has Bernie endorsed anyone in this race? He has not. Tammy Duckworth has all the high-profile political and organizational endorsements, and she will almost certainly be the nominee. Does anything about Duckworth’s record suggest that she will be a Sanders revolutionary, as opposed to a relatively run of the mill Democrat? No. So when is the revolution supposed to happen?

    • Brien Jackson

      The people are gonna get in the street and Republicans won’t have any choice but to ignore the wishes of the voters who elected them to Congress because THE PEOPLE ARE IN THE STREET!

    • EliHawk

      In the same vein: Sanders has been running for office since 1974, when he almost Nadered Pat Leahy. He’s been in Congress for the last 25 years. Why hasn’t he been building that revolution over that time, running like minded compatriots, building support in other states, and all the rest? Probably because, 2016 campaign aside, his theory of Revolutionary Change has always been a bit more Nader than Goldwater: Running as the pure independent candidate against the corrupt, corporate Dems, instead of working within the party to build a movement.

    • CD

      The revolution will not happen anytime soon.

      We’re in serious danger right now of losing a woman’s right to choose, losing the effective rights of many black people to vote, sinking into violent nativism, ending up with a country in which Republican governors routinely poison whole communities of poor people. Unions are facing serious threats. At this point we need to just hold the goddam line. I’m afraid we need the Tammy Duckworths.

  • Legion

    Sanders is running like is 1960, when the country was 90% non-“Hispanic” White.

    Today, all the Democrat Party cares about is sticking it to YT. There will never be another White male Democrat president, even if he’s a Jew.

    After Hillary you’ll have to nominate a homosexual of some variety.

    Then it will be a black woman.

    Then a black, “undocumented”, transgender HIV positive hermaphrodite. And so on.

    • Troll comment deleted

      Troll comment deleted

      • Gregor Sansa

        Wait a minute. I still clearly see a troll comment. It wasn’t deleted.

  • narciblog

    … will turn on him with a fury as the next sellout once he takes power and has to compromise.

    Whereas Hillary is better because everyone already knows she’s sold out.

    What scares me most about a Clinton presidency, it’s going to be “Impeach! Bengazhi!” from day one and she won’t be able to get anything done.

    • Every single Democrat will face the same scenario in one form or another.

      • narciblog

        I respectfully disagree. Bernie draws the wrath of every right-wing hate-radio host because omg the socialismz and that means he’s indistinguishable from Stalin on even a quantum level, but Hillary will be facing impeachment literally from day one.

        • Brien Jackson

          So what? It obviously won’t go anywhere, won’t change much on Capitol Hill, and if anything can only really benefit Democrats by making Republicans look like an even bigger clown show and probably rallying more Democratic support in Congress behind her. This is a silly reason to be wringing hands.

          • random

            The 1998 mid-term went badly for the GOP specifically because of this.

          • CD

            Exactly. The noise machine will crank up no matter who it is. If anything this is an argument for HRC, who has at least shown a capacity to deal with bullshit.

        • random

          Yeah a lot of us made that exact same miscalculation in 2008. I’m definitely guilty of being wrong about this one.

          But now we know for a fact that any Democrat who gets elected will face maximal opposition from day one, no matter what or who it is.

  • jeer9

    Bernie’s ideas and everything, man, that aspirational shit, it blows my mind, but I don’t think the Democratic party can be reformed through the primary system, see, the establishment is just too much against him, ya know, and the best we can hope for is incremental change, do I need to spell out incremental for you, so that’s why I’m backin’ Hill … even though Bernie could only do incremental, too. If you’re pragmatic, man, and a realist, ya gotta support Hill. Stop with all that fucked-up lefty cred crap. It doesn’t fly here.

    And you’ll only end up disillusioned, dude. Life begins on the other side of despair, and you need to get there first. Don’t fall for that Simon and Garfunkel revolution nostalgia shit again.

    C’mon. Let’s go bowling.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      nothing in between, eh?

  • Quite Likely

    Huh, based on previous posts of yours I had assumed you were supporting Hillary Clinton. Now you say you’re planning to vote for Sanders, and I’m confused about what your deal is. You don’t think Sanders would be able to usher in a sweeping political revolution and therefor… what?

    If you’re on board with Sanders being a significantly better candidate than Clinton, then just endorse him and move on. If you’re not on board with that, talk about your problems with him, not about the general problem of making sweeping political change.

    • Why do I have to endorse a candidate?

      And why shouldn’t I think through these larger problems?

    • Hogan

      You’re mistaking LGM for DailyKos.

  • Barry Freed

    Really good article on the Clinton corruption network in the NYRB. The arms sales stuff is particularly alarming.

  • DAtt

    I think we’re all agreed on the need for bottom-up change and much more focus on state-level politics, primary campaigns etc. For what it’s worth, the Working Families Party is trying to implement exactly this kind of model with its candidate pipeline project.

    But I can’t for the life of me see why this kind of de-mobilizing helplessness helps that goal. Top-down and bottom-up leftward shifts in the Democratic Party are likely not mutually exclusive. Sanders doing well in these primaries will strengthen the hand of the Elizabeth Warrens of the Democratic Party and are demonstrably pushing Clinton left. Even if Sanders loses, at an absolute minimum his campaign trains a generation of lefties to organize (see Jesse Jackson’s 1988 campaign)

    If Sanders were to win, his legislative agenda would probably get blocked (although I don’t think we should 100% discount the possibility of a full-on GOP split with downballot effects). But the exact same thing would happen to HRC, regardless of her experience… I find it bizarre that people on the left don’t treat her theory of change (i.e Obama’s strategy without Obama’s majorities) with the same skepticism they do to Sanders’.

    In keeping with Manual, I’m bewildered by the fact that few people on here consider the difference between Sanders and Clinton’s potential executive appointments and actions to be meaningful. Seriously? Having left-wing Treasury/Fed/SEC/NLRB/Dept of Ed etc etc leadership as opposed to ex-financial sector types is of non-negligeable importance. Another important difference straight off the bat is Sanders would veto TPP, which I heavily heavily doubt post-primary Clinton will. To me, this is a pragmatic and clear-eyed analysis which is either ignored or labelled as crazy Berniebot idealism.

    Yes, lets have a structural analysis of the limitations of Sanders and Presidential politics more generally. But can we lighten the F up? Sanders’ success is a good thing, and we should be behind it. Maybe I’m young and naieve, but what is the point of being involved in politics if a full-throated FDR Democrat giving Hillary Clinton a run for her money provokes nothing more than a “meh”?

    • jeer9

      I’m bewildered by the fact that few people on here consider the difference between Sanders and Clinton’s potential executive appointments and actions to be meaningful.

      I think the argument goes something like this.

      Imagine a person who was deeply frustrated by the center-right hackery of the earlier Clinton years (and perhaps considered voting in protest, even in a safe state like CA, for a vanity third party candidate who was a necessary but not sufficient factor in Gore’s defeat – because of a misguided notion that such a strategy would push the Dems left). If this person has now come around to recognize the importance of city, district, and state party-building and believes the only electoral way in which to effect progressive change is within and through the primary system, this person should vote for … Clinton.

      And if you don’t believe she is the better qualified, more prepared, greater experienced candidate, you’re probably a sexist.

  • socraticsilence

    As someone who will likely caucus for Bernie (if I have time to drive 2 hours and my registration is still valid– which it is only because it’s a party and not a state contest) but is in the state doing background work for a Hillary win for a third party endorser (campaign logistics and targeting essentially). I understand your skepticism, my primary counter is that an early Bernie push forces Hillary to become a better candidate in much the same way the 2008 primary improved both Clinton and Obama- to be honest reaching out to the left and trying to heal the rift with young voters now rather than a few months from now is crucial for a Clinton victory in November.

    • Moondog

      Can she do it ? (reach out/heal rift)

      Some of them at least seem pretty pissed off.

      • random

        Yes, especially since he’s going to be endorsing her and encouraging his supporters to support her. There are almost no Sanders supporters who won’t vote for Clinton.

        I assure you that if a less-qualified white male bumps Clinton off the ticket while bad-mouthing the accomplishments of the first black President, that will actually be slightly worse in terms of demoralizing and angering key constituencies. In neither case does it translate into all that many people not voting D though.

  • Look, I support basically every single Sanders platform position, except for his bad positions, like on guns and Israel. And I will probably vote for him if it is still a race when the Rhode Island primary comes around, which it won’t because RI is a late voting state.

    Right. I expect things to be already settled by the time the California primary comes up, and am having a hard time getting hyped up about any of the Dem candidates, because whatever my preference is likely won’t matter.

    • johnnypez

      I hear you. PA resident here.

  • Fish Pimp

    I find it amusing that Sanders supporters are being lectured about how change happens by people who want to go Back to Future with the Clintons. Apparently, the way change happens is that you elect a presidential family from 20 years ago. But Bernie does look good as Doc Brown.

    I think the skepticism of Bernie should be properly addressed as skepticism of the benefits of campaign finance reform. Presumably CFR would be priority number one for the Bernie administration and as politicians from both parties have frequently decried “dialing for dollars”, one might presume that he could get bi-partisan support for such a bill if he had a popular mandate.

    The possibility of further change depends on how big you feel the influence of money has been on swaying votes. Would publicly funded elections allow individual legislators vote their conscious or would they still vote for special interests?

    And the revolution will not happen over night. It will require a 50 state strategy of maintaining contact and communication with new voters, not abandoning them as soon as the election is over. Building and grooming with an eye toward each new election.

    • I find it amusing that Sanders supporters are being lectured about how change happens by people who want to go Back to Future with the Clintons.

      If you can find the citation where I said I support Hillary Clinton in this primary, I will give you the entirety of my bank account.

      • Fish Pimp

        And I will probably vote for him if it is still a race when the Rhode Island primary comes around, which it won’t because RI is a late voting state.

        Oops, sorry I recognize your position. Meant CW. I think you are expressing many of the same concerns as the Post and Times, though.

  • wengler

    Reading this article and the comments in this thread gave me a headache.

    Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are two different people, they have different priorities though sometimes agree with each other. Bernie has been complimentary toward Clinton and defended her against Republican attacks. For her part she has largely also refrained from attacking Bernie, other than an utterly stupid claim he was trying to destroy Obamacare.

    It’s 2016 and Hillary Clinton still voted for enabling Bush to invade Iraq fourteen years. Bernie voted against it. The vote that should’ve disqualified any Democrat that said aye(you too John Kerry) from ever being their party’s nominee is still relevant.

    • random

      Nah, I already punished her for that in 2008. She learned quickly from that mistake and is still a lot more qualified for the office than the white guy who’s never faced an electorate worth mentioning or any real challenges in his life.

      Being able to call yourself ‘Socialist’ and still have a national career is just not a luxury that the Warrens, Clintons, and Obamas get. I don’t want somebody that doesn’t know what it’s like to make a tough call.

      • joe from Lowell

        Being an immigrant’s kid in Brooklyn is just so much easier than growing up in the suburbs.

        Hillary Clinton came up the hard way, on the streets. That’s why she was able to surmount the challenges of winning political office in New York State as a Democrat, with nothing but a President husband behind her.

        • Lee Rudolph

          Hillary Clinton came up the hard way, on the streets.

          Down these mean streets, a girl must walk, kind of thing?

        • Gregor Sansa

          JfL, you are killing it in this thread. Thank you for not getting into any pointless back-and-forth subthreads.

          • joe from Lowell

            JfL, you are killing it in this thread.

            Come now; just look at the material I’m being given to work with.

        • Joe_JP

          Cute but doesn’t really refute the comment.

          • joe from Lowell

            It refutes the only part of the comment that is substantive enough to be either right or wrong.

            • Joe_JP

              ymmv

  • MDrew

    I nodded along to most of this because I too am skeptical that any kind of real movement is going to materialize that will push Bernie into office and make legislative change that wouldn’t happen under Clinton happen – that we need to attend to how real change happens. I’m actually sort of indifferent between them as nominees, because I agree that I don’t think their presidencies would look all that dissimilar, and I think that, while Clinton would be the better nominee against any of the non-Trump, I actually think it may be better to have Bernie if it’s Trump – but I don’t know who it’s going to be yet, so that’s a wildcard factor.

    But then we get to the very end, where we get a renewal of Erik’s concern about Sanders supporters becoming disillusioned. I’m not sure if this is where the whole post is leading, or if it’s an afterthought to it, but either way, I just don’t really get the concern here – what this has to do with how change really happens. Disillusionment happens along with change. Change is always too slow. But change happens. Disillusionment is not the end of the world.

    If Sanders has a bunch of really avid supporters and then they get disillusioned, what’s lost? He’s still president; he still probably can’t get much through Congress either way just like HIlary. Maybe he’s a worse president than Hillary or maybe he’s better, but in neither case does the excitement level of his band of followers or hers make much difference to what either gets done.

    • Polling suggests, and to be sure this is really weak data that I’ve only read about, not reviewed, that about 90-95% of Sanders supporters have no problem swapping to Hillary in the general. We see a lot more turmoil in our day to day encounters, I suspect because a) the portion that would not vote for — and I’m quoting one of my friends here — “Shillary Cunton” are very vocal in an attempt to bully friends into a fight and b) there’s a significant if small number of conservative trolls hoping to propagandize Sanders into the race.

      • MDrew

        I’m not clear what question this is answering.

        • joe from Lowell

          I think he’s agreeing with your second a third paragraphs. It’s a very small number of people.

          • MDrew

            Thanks.

            On the assumption that PUMA-For-Bernie types would be the ones who would be most prone to disillusionment? Or if not, I’m still a little lost.

            If so, I think that’s a bit faulty. Some overlap probably, but I’m not really thinking of these as the same group.

            My mental image of the likely disillusioned Berniemaniac:
            – major early Obamabot; canvasser; precinct captain, the whole nine
            – disillusioned in early ’09 over stimulus composition;
            – disillusioned in later ’09 over (well-advertised) Afghan surge
            – would have been okay with Clinton in ’08 or ’16, but someone they could get REALLY excited about came along instead.
            – got really excited about Bernie; believes he WILL get Citizens United overturned via Amendment
            – 10% of his supoorters

            My mental image of the Bernie PUMA:
            – 58 year old blue collar union steelworker
            – registered Dem. Spotty voting record last four cycles.
            – voted Obama ’08, possibly Paul ’04, however. Possibly Nader, possibly Perot. Sat out here & there
            – perhaps has never voted for a Clinton
            – hasn’t ruled out Trump
            – basically the guy actor212 is talking about
            – no chance they support Hillary in the general. If it’s Trup, they go Trump, if it’s Rubio, they sit out
            – 5-10% of Bernie’s support

            If Sanders were elected, the first type will pay really close attention, get angry early, and turn on Sanders – with far less impact than the firebaggers, because the expectations for a Sanders presidency would in fact be far less sweeping than they were for Obama’s (despite his more precise & realistic promises.)

            The second type may become disappointed with Sanders, but also (I’d say more likely in the 70-30 range) more tunes out, figures Bernie’s fightin’ the good fight for him. He’ll take another look in ’19-20′ to see if he actually got anything done and make further decisions at that time.

            These are not the same groups at all IMO. To an extent, you could characterize either set of post-election attitudes as disillusionment, but to an extent I think you can consider both of them just kind of baked into the political landscape. My impression is that Erik is more concerned with the first type of high-dudgeon disillusionment. But the latter I think is actually the Democrats’ bigger problem. BUt the latter is hardly a Bernie problem in particular.

            My overall question is why either of them (but especially the first type) is posed as such an extraordinary dangerous phenomenon for Democratic/left politics in the U.S. From where I sit, the pattern of reaching for things, falling somewhat (or a lot) short, and dealing with disillusionment in the small portion of the faithful who are unable to modulate expectations (the Obama pattern) is pretty much okay, as long as thing are periodically getting done. Independent of assigning greater danger of of this disillusionment to scenarios of different candidates winning, I need to be shown why this type of disillusionment is such a concern. And then, I need to be shown why it’s such a problem for Sanders. Is Obama the precedent for concern about this possibility? If so, I’m okay with how that went. If not, what is it, and why is it particularly a problem for Sanders?

            • MDrew

              …Wow.

              That comment was initially going to read, in its entirety,

              …”Thanks.”

            • MDrew

              …A question that comes to my mind about disillusionment regards my Type 2 disillusionment – which is something more like routine disengagement by groups we’d like to think of as more politically active than they in fact turn out to be. Eg., the most politically disengaged union members who are nevertheless fairly regular voters (i.e., not those who are totally, completely disengaged, but who routinely tune out between presidential elections – to include, too often, not showing up for midterm elections). (To be clear, I don’t regard this as that pressing a problem for Democrats, though it is a problem. But between these two types of disillusionment (if we can call both of them that), I consider this type by far the biger problem.)

              Who do we think is more likely to influence these people to become more deeply engaged politically as president – Hillary or Bernie? I genuinely am not sure I know even what my hunch is on that.

              • Gregor Sansa

                My hunch is clearly that it’s whichever candidate is cooler, or more specifically, less uncool. In my mind, that’s so clearly Bernie that I have a hard time seeing it any other way. But more objectively, I guess I could imagine “sunglasses Clinton” pulling it off.

  • As you undoubtedly know from the shit I take on Facebook, Erik, I’m with you.

    I’m voting Bernie but he stands no chance of winning either the nomination or, should he pull off a miracle, the general election.

    I see three things standing in his way:

    1) Socialism – This is the general election killer in my book. The entire GOP strategy against Sanders will be to put Sanders name next to Stalin, Mao and yes, Hitler, then go start planning the Trump administration.

    The strategy consists, basically, of telling the nation “We told you the Democrats housed Socialists! Here’s proof!” I’ve not seen a shred of evidence that, even in Iowa where Sanders has been surprisingly strong, that socialists can make up enough of the electorate, even the primary, to help get Sanders past the post. Yes, there’s a poll where 43% of Iowans say they are socialists as opposed to capitalists, but that’s 43% of the likely voters (20% of the party or so) of Democratic caucuses (40% of the population). Roughly 3.5% of the population.

    2) Down-ticket – You correctly point out how few liberals are taking political cover behind a Sanders candidacy and challenging mainstream democrats. In a general election with Sanders even on the ticket as Veep, those downticket spots become even more troublesome: after all, if as a Congressional candidate you have to deny or ignore the top of the ticket in order to get elected, you face a very hard road to the win.

    And if as the flagship of the election you can’t count on support from the local candidate, if you’re in that district and the candidate or worse, incumbent, can’t be seen with you, worrying about his or her own chances, you can pretty much kiss your bid goodbye.

    3) Superdelegates – Hillary Clinton has a clear plurality of these and may have a clear majority already. That’s something like 400 floor votes locked in before a single vote is cast, of about 4000 total delegates. Sanders cannot win with the northeast and west coast. He’s going to need states like Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina, states he is not polling well in at all. (at this point, Sanders could steal Michigan from Clinton)

    FiveThirtyEight has Clinton with an 80% probability of winning the nomination. I gotta stand with Nate on this one.

    • MDrew

      So yeah, that’s a pretty decent summary, I think.

      The question, then, is why so many people around here and around the country seem to have been cool all along with a process in which there was literally never any choice for voters about who would be nominated – in which all potential genuine rivals were systematically pushed out or dissuaded from participating months before anything like the real run-up to voting, much less the voting itself, started?

      • EliHawk

        Is it really that much different than 2000? There were only two candidates, Clinton actually endorsed Gore before a single vote was cast, and Bradley lost every state, only ever coming close to winning in New Hampshire, which Gore still won by 4 points. Maybe it’s different when it’s an incumbent Veep, but then Hillary’s running as the de facto heir apparent anyway.

        • MDrew

          My template is that an incumbent Veep wanting to run is the only time where it passes the smell test. And, indeed, there was one this year, and he was cast aside – not just not made the presumptive nominee, but muscled out of running in order to smooth the path for different presumptive. Which is extraordinary (and, ultimately, okay, but still extraordinary), but ultimately not the important thing. The important thing is that I thought there was only one scenario in which a nominally open primary (no incumbent) was in practice closed – the viable Veep scenario. That’s now expanding, which outs us on a path back to strictly insider choosing of the nominee. But more to the point, not just back room choosing of the nominee (since elites do influence voting outcomes a-la The Party Decides), but almost total back-room control of the slate of candidates, so as to carefully shape the election so that it’s doesn’t appear as just a blatant coronation, but also has only one possible outcome. That’s significantly different from the Veep scenario, and a new kind of precedent, since going in basically everyone understands and knows the nature of that kind of nomination contest, or did – it’s not clear that’s going to be a standard assumption going forward anymore.

          • EliHawk

            I guess with the Biden scenario it was as much as anything about his Cuomo act. A world where Biden was running for President, no ifs ands or buts on January 21, 2013 would, I think, have been a different thing. Instead, he dithered. In practice, Presidential campaigns are four year things now, even if you don’t explicitly announce/build the full organization until two years out. But Biden didn’t do any of that, lay any of the groundwork, and was still deciding late into the fall. He did not take his chance. But Hillary, with Obama’s tacit support, did do that, and got the heir apparent effect with the party establishment and also with the voters.

            As to the slate of candidates, I think it’s similar to 2000 as well. If you’re a Democrat with national ambitions, why jump in now for a race you’ll probably lose? (See also: all the Democratic heavyweights ducking out of facing a post Gulf War I Bush). Plenty of the people who were mentioned as potential 2000 contenders kept their power dry and ran in 2004 instead (Kerry, Gephardt, and Dean among others, sadly Wellstone never got the chance). If Martin O’Malley hadn’t been term limited out of the Maryland governor’s office with no place to go, I suspect he would have stayed out and looked to 2020 too.

            I don’t particularly think they were nudged out by Clinton or Obama or the DNC but by the prospect of certain defeat. Politicians are smart; they can see the polls and the money game and realize winning the nomination this year is a very difficult lift to make happen. They made their own decision to duck out of the way. If she wins, maybe they’re Veep. If she loses, then they have chits they can cash in in four years. Either way, the reason Kaine or Brown or Warren didn’t run isn’t some nefarious back room deal, but self-interested politicians exercising common sense.

            • MDrew

              I don’t particularly think they were nudged out by Clinton or Obama or the DNC but by the prospect of certain defeat.

              #1) The prospect of certain defeat for any but one candidate was a consciously created condition by the party – that’s what I’m saying. The eclipse of Biden – who dithered because he couldn’t find the dollars and support to stand up a viable effort – shows this. If this condition (certain defeat for all) hadn’t been consciously created by the party and the Clintons, then *at least* the sitting Vice President who wanted to run would have been able to run.

              #2) Even beyond that, I don’t buy that it was merely the conditions that had been created and not active nudging. Not that the two don’t essentially blend into each other at some point in the middle, making the distinction mostly notional.

              • EliHawk

                I want to preface all of this with the fact that I love Joe Biden. Joe Biden is the one politician I’ve ever given money to. But to paraphrase The Social Network, If Joe Biden wanted to run for President, Joe Biden would have run for President. Biden dithered long past when he needed to to actually take seriously to run for President, and the money and support went elsewhere. If Joe Biden was stumping through Iowa and New Hampshire in 2013, lining up donor support and staff in 2014, and announcing in February 2015, he’d have been able to run. He did none of those things. People come to you and back you because you’re serious. He wasn’t.

                • MDrew

                  Reply got swallowed by the login timer or something. Twice.

                  To recap: we don’t know Biden didn’t try to do that spadework and find out there was solid opposition to major party figures running against Clinton straight across the party, possibly including in the WH. At that point I”m not sure the move is to go in-your-face against that kind of consensus by making a big show of stumping in Iowa and New Hampshire. You need to try to dislodge that consensus( a bit) with insider persuasion, which is Biden’s MO anyway). Maybe he was working on that when his son got sick, and then it was too late once he could devote the time again. He did have a job through this time.

                  Maybe that’t not how it was, but in my view, it matches visible facts better. He clearly sent ignals of wanting to run, and the reporting was all that he was having trouble scaring up the money and support. Meanwhile, essentially no other major party figures decided to run. You think they all were just inclined to defer to Clinton? Or did they face a combination of having no fingerhold on comparable sources of funds or party support, and a message that it would be remembered if they were foolish enough to challenge this party decision? Now, you can define “nudge” however you want, but from where I stand, basically all potential genuine rivals were obviously nudged out of the race. Biden is not a singularly important figure, except inasmuch as he is the extreme case – if anyone should have been able to run, it was him. And he was unable to, despite all indications being that he wanted to. You’re telling me that every single rival power center (i.e. not established Clinton allies) was just naturally inclined to sit on the sidelines? Sorry, not buying it. Some were, I’m sure. Others, messages were sent, and resources were cornered to keep them out of the race. Which is politics. I just don’t dig it when it means there is no race.

                  …Except one that there shouldn’t be. HIllary shouldn’t be having trouble putting away the socialist non-Democrat who’s sharply criticizing the party’s popular president’s record – except that she eliminated all other competition, unifying opposition behind the guy who was more indifferent to party dissuasion. And 40 to 60 percent of the Democratic primary electorate should not be lining up behind the non-Democrat that is criticizing the party’s popular president’s record so sharply… except that he the only viable outlet for expressing hesitancy to line up behind Clinton that they were left with. Hillary should be sharing the job of defending and seeking to carry on the Obama legacy with a number (I mean, like, maybe two? Three?) of fellow party-regular candidates. That would probably almost double the amount of support for candidates who were strongly defending the president’s major legacy items, while returning Bernie Sanders to the position in this primary where he belongs, and likely leaving Clinton as the double-digit leader she should be in every state. But there aren’t enough party regulars in the race to get that done… which is her doing and that of the party.

                  Oh well.

            • Gregor Sansa

              Biden: You spit. I’m ‘a sit. We’ll see where we land

              O’Malley: Boooo!

              Sanders: Joe, the revolution’s imminent. What do you stall for? If you stand for nothing, Joe, what’ll you fall for?

      • Morse Code for J

        Whose fault is it if Hillary Clinton has locked up 10% of the convention super delegate vote? Was it impossible for Bernie Sanders or Martin O’Malley or anyone else to woo them?

        Whose fault is it if there isn’t a groundswell of Democratic primary candidate activity on the left?

        Whose fault is it if potential genuine rivals saw that Hillary Clinton would be so well-organized and tough to beat that they would be better off waiting for a chance to become a VP selectee?

        None of this can be fairly laid at the feet of the DNC.

    • Gregor Sansa

      You’ve made a bunch of arguments about the primary, but only “socialism” about the general election. And yes, there are a bunch of people in this country who will never vote for an avowed socialist. Mostly they’re called “Republicans”.

      Sanders can win. Against Trump, he can win in a blow-out, more easily than Clinton. Trump is his made-to-order Goliath.

      (Against Cruz, I think they’d do about the same. Against Rubio, I’d take Clinton. But Rubio is not gonna be the R.)

      • joe from Lowell

        I think Hillary would match up better against JEB, too.

        • Gregor Sansa

          Not so sure. I’d rather not have a “Clinton or Bush” election; it would push too many Naderite buttons (not for me, but for people who are like I was in 2000).

          • joe from Lowell

            A successful campaign against Bernie Sanders would require the Republican nominee to make the case that he’s a safe, responsible choice over that crazy extremist with the shouting and the hair.

            Jeb Bush has a genuinely non-threatening image. I think he stands a chance of coming across as safer than Bernie. I don’t think he could do that to Hillary, and really, I don’t see a whole lot else he has to offer.

            That’s my reasoning.

      • Gregor Sansa

        It’s possible that Trump, Bernie, Clinton are in a genuine rock-paper-scissors Condorcet cycle. I’m skeptical that Trump beats Clinton and hopeful that Bernie does, but the cyclical order is not out of the question. Certainly there are at least some voters of each of the three requisite types: B>T>C, T>C>B, C>B>T.

        If this were true, the question of “who is the fairest winner” would be an interesting one. You’d need firmer numbers to answer it, but I think that the strongest leg of the triangle would probably be B>T, meaning that B has a good case to be the best (and the likely winner under the voting systems I like best, such as SODA).

    • joe from Lowell

      Using polling on the word “socialism” to project Sanders’ changes, while ignoring the actual head-to-head polling about general election match-ups, does not strike me as the best approach to the question.

      I like to tell the joke that the polling in 2004 showed the generic Democrat whooping Bush…so we went ahead and nominated the most generic Democrat we could find!

      Individuals can run ahead or behind the polling of the generic descriptors that apply to them.

      • Morse Code for J

        Exactly. Every incumbent President is a loser to the generic opposition candidate, but as soon as they put a name to that candidate, it usually swings abruptly in the other direction.

    • Scott P.

      The superdelegates are irrelevant; Hillary had a big superdelegate lead in 2008 also, and in the end Obama got 75% of the votes in the first round of convention voting. They will fall in line behind whomever ends up winning the primary season.

    • UserGoogol

      I don’t think voters listen to political campaigns enough to really care about “proof,” even the fairly slam dunk argument that Bernie explicitly identifies as a socialist. Campaigns are something that vaguely percolates in the background of most voters lives. The idea that one word (even if it is admittedly a bad word to a lot of people) is going to sink a campaign, is just silly.

  • Gregor Sansa

    So, the arguments against Sanders come down to:

    1. Not everything he is saying would be nice will come true. Which makes him unique in the history of politics. Thus, when ponies don’t materialize, his supporters will be so utterly shocked and dismayed that they will vote Republican in 2018.

    2. His health care plan is vague and unrealistic. Unlike that of Obama 2008. Or, for that matter, unlike that of Clinton 2016, which is only vague and uninspiring. (Note that we’re only even talking about health care because Clinton is making “it will never happen” into an issue. Even if we grant that she’s right, wouldn’t that be a reason to ignore the issue, not to go over Sanders’s plan with a microscope?)

    3. He’s too much of a weirdo to ever win an election. Against Donald Trump. (Or maybe, Ted Cruz).

    I’m unimpressed.

    The nice thing about voting for Sanders in an early primary is that it’s safe. Given Clinton’s superdelegate advantage and the tightness of the race, there is no way that Sanders will build up an insuperable lead in the states up through Super Tuesday. I think that given how healthy it’s been to have a contested primary so far, he deserves the benefit of the doubt until at least then. And the three arguments above collapse utterly under the weight of even the tiniest sliver of benefit of the doubt.

    • My argument is that HRC might do better overall and downticket because of the more played up historic nature of her candidacy. (Bernie as a not very religious Jew might have a comparable claim to historicness, but it’s both less played up and hard to play up.

      At lot of women are heavily invested in both HRC personally and symbolicly. Whether this translates into more overall enthusiasm is hard to say for sure of course, but I think it does and over a wider range of demographics.

      Part of this is my own reaction. I really like Bernie and have for some time. But at the “I wanna see some difference in the WH” level, her doesn’t resonate as much with me. Given that I don’t think that policy wise they’ll be all that far apart (or, worse, I tend to worry a bit that an aggressive Bernie might get a hard to handle backlash a la Bill Clinton).

      • Gregor Sansa

        What you say is reasonable. But I think that the Hillary demographics are reliable Democratic demographics, while the Bernie ones are swingier (both to Republicans and to non-voting). So I think Bernie has a bigger impact.

        I also think that a hotly-contested primary in which the candidates are largely avoiding going negative is overall a plus for the party. There’s zero chance that Bernie will have this wrapped up in a couple of weeks, and a very real chance that Hillary will. Thus I think that Bernie is doing good.

        • Re: your second paragraph, I’ve no quibble at all. I kinda hope it draws out longer. :)

          Re: the first, I’m not convinced Hillary won’t inherit some of them (e.g., younger voters). I would like Bernie to keep them fired up and Hillary to learn how to court them.

          But I think it’s more likely than Bernie getting Hillary’s fired up.

          But who knows? I’d take either in a bar fight:
          http://bitterempire.com/presidential-candidates-ranked-usefulness-bar-fight/

  • geniecoefficient

    Halp! Can someone make a subject index of this thread, or something?

  • bsort13

    It seems that the common core message since Bush is that we have to make sure that “those other people” don’t win or that we should not vote for someone because they can’t win. Well, I would suggest that this two pronged propaganda approach was conceived by those very people that are running this rigged game.

    Of course, if you do not like candidate “a” but like candidate “b, then vote for “b”! But this silliness that arrises every election cycle is, at its very heart, anti democratic and only serves to maintain the status quo, which is what those in power want.

    I suggest tat if you like what Sanders is saying and most of what he has stood and worked for over the years, then if you do not vote for him, you are responsible for maintaining the current system. Hillary, as fine as she has been, is part of the current system. If you feel that the current system and all that goes with it works for our country, then do not vote for Sanders. But if you want change, or at least an attempt at real change and you like Sanders then vote for him and let the chips fall as they may!

    These very people that say we should vote for Hillary because Sanders cannot win, are part of the movement of fear and cowardice and do not understand what a democracy is about or how it works. Maybe Sanders cannot achieve what he is speaking of, but he will none the less try and in doing so will take us closer to Americans starting to vote for what helps them and not vote the tribal affiliation as has been so deeply ingrained by those very people that would hurt them!

    • sapient

      I favor Hillary because I prefer Hillary. But I’d like to know what part of “the current system” supporting Hillary is maintaining. “The current system” is an awfully big category. I supported Obama against Hillary in 2008 (and, of course, in 2012). I voted in the midterms, although a lot of my fellow Democratic idealists did not, and we lost ground hugely in 2010.

      What “system” are we talking about, exactly? The people we vote for, and then abandon, do their best to resuscitate a government that can function to attain at least some of the policies we were hoping for?

    • djw

      I suggest tat if you like what Sanders is saying and most of what he has stood and worked for over the years, then if you do not vote for him, you are responsible for maintaining the current system.

      Bernie Sanders is a wheeling, dealing, highly effective Senator–obviously, part of “the current system” for any coherent definition of such.

  • mch

    I’ve been away this weekend and am coming to this late. Haven’t read a single other comment. Just want to say, I agree. I wish we had a different world. I wish the Dems (what the left here are stuck with) had a better choice. But we don’t.

    All this is a call for dems, and/or lefties, to organize better at the state and local level so we aren’t left with choices like this come times like now.

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  • werewitch

    I support basically every single Sanders platform position, except for his bad positions

    This is my new favorite all-purpose endorsement statement.

  • one of the blue

    Yes. The Democratic electorate has evolved, and if we think about it, incredibly fast in the past eight years.

    Bernie if he were to win replicates second-term Obama pretty much across the board – a little harder on banksters, a little softer on things like guns, maybe, and negotiations first on foreign policy as the mantra.

    If Hillary wins she replicates second-term Obama on domestic issues and is a touch or two more hawkish on international issues.

    Neither of them gets anything much through Congress absent a changed Congress in the second term. Bernie supporters say he can sell it better than Hillary or Obama.

    Nevertheless it’s huge that close to 40% of the Democratic electorate is willing (at least pre-redbaiting) to vote for a declared socialist, however moderate in practice. This is unprecedented, even taking into account the high-water marks of the Debs era.

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